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Russia to investigate claims of systematic doping

Russia to investigate claims of systematic doping
Olympic gold medalist Maria Savinova is reportedly among the Russian athletes who are the focus of allegations that they took part in a systematic program of cheating. (Anja Niedringhaus / Associated Press)

Russia's anti-doping agency announced Friday that it is launching an internal investigation following media reports of systematic cheating among athletes, coaches and officials in its country.

"After completion of the investigation, [the] official results will be published on RUSADA website," a statement said.

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The allegations arose in separate reports by the German television station ARD and the French sports daily L'Equipe.

Olympic 800-meter champion Maria Savinova and three-time Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova were among the athletes scrutinized.

A former Russian runner told ARD that coaches had provided banned substances and that bribes had been paid so that positive test results would be overlooked. The report linked other sports -- including swimming, cycling, biathlon and weightlifting -- to alleged doping.

International track-and-field officials told the Associated Press that they had already launched their own investigation.

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