Russian doping: Jenny Meadows says claims could 'kill' athletics

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Dopers could kill athletics - Meadows

British athlete Jenny Meadows fears the Russian doping allegations could "kill" the sport if proven by an ongoing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) investigation.

A German television documentary claimed to present evidence of systematic doping and corruption in Russian sport.

IAAF chief Lamine Diack told BBC Sport athletics is "in crisis" but said "90% to 95%" of athletes are clean.

Meadows, 33, was beaten to European gold by a Russian drug cheat in 2011.

German television station WDR broadcast three documentaries alleging that 99% of Russian athletes are doping and that IAAF officials were implicated in covering it up.

The claims have been rejected as a "pack of lies" by the Russian Athletics Federation and Diack told BBC Sport that the figure was "a joke" and "ridiculous".

Meadows, from Wigan, said: "If it is as widespread as those allegations do deem, I just think it would just kill our sport.

Jenny Meadows career medals
Gold - 2011 European Indoor Championships (800m), 2001 European U23 Championships (4x400m), 2000 World Junior Championships (4x400m)
Silver - 2011 European Indoor Championships (4x400m), 2010 World Indoor Championships (800m)
Bronze - 2010 European Championships (800m), 2009 World Championships (800m)

"Sponsors may walk away from the sport and fans may walk away from the sport. We may never get a 100% accuracy of the scale of doping.

"I really hope it isn't true to that scale but I do think doping is widespread in athletics."

In 2011 Meadows finished second in the 800m to Yevgeniya Zinurova in the European Indoor Championships, only to be upgraded to gold the following year when the Russian was banned for two years for doping.

Meadows added: "It might be the case that we have to prove how many people are doping, destroy the image of the sport and then rebuild it again and look for positive role models who can succeed and win medals on the international stage who are clean athletes."

The BBC has not independently verified the documentary's allegations and is awaiting responses from athletes targeted in the programme.

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