Firova says athletes should be able to take banned substances

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Russian athlete Tatyana Firova has suggested that athletes should be able to take banned substances as they would not be able to “achieve high results” without them.

The 33-year-old sprinter has competed in the last three Olympics for Russia’s 4x400m relay team, winning a silver medal each time. However, a sample she gave from the 2008 Beijing games has recently been re-tested and come back positive.

The media have been granted in depth access into Russia’s training camps, as their governing body attempts to silence the doping allegations made towards them and prove that they have bettered their anti-doping system since the recent doping scandal.

Firova has not been coy about doping in Russia, implying that the ‘beauracrats’ are partly responsible for it as well as the athletes.

“Of course the system is also responsible for (doping)” she told Sky news.

“We sportsmen are performers, we follow the rules that are given to us by the system.”

She refused to comment on whether she has doped in the past, but has suggested that all athletes should be allowed to take performance enhancing drugs.

“A normal person can take banned substances if they want to,” she said “so why can’t athletes take them as well. How else can we achieve high results?”

The Russian athletics team are still banned from all international competitions, with their place in the Olympics still hanging in the balance.

This has been described as a worrying prospect by 23-year-old Russian athlete Mariya Kuchina, who won Gold in the High Jump at last years IAAF World Championships.

“Of course I am worried,” she told Sky news, “I have been preparing for a long time. I am a young, clean athlete.
“Why should I have to miss the Olympics? I really don’t understand this.”

The International Associastion of Athletic Federation (IAAF) are expected to make a decision in Russia’s place in the Olympics on Friday 17th June.