MOSCOW, April 8- Yury Borzakovskiy, the newly-appointed head coach of Russia’s national athletics team, insisted Tuesday that doping was a thing of the past and that all Russian track and field athletes were now “clean”.
Russia has been accused of using widespread doping in sport, with a raft of high-profile athletes having failed tests, and is under investigation by track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
It claimed a notable scalp last month when Russian Athletics Federation chief Valentin Balakhnichev resigned, bringing to an end his 24-year reign.
Borzakovsky, officially named as head coach on Monday after being in interim charge since February 6, said there had been a clear break from the wrongs of the past.
“Our anti-doping service is working really well,” the R-Sport news agency quoted Borzakovsky, the 2004 Olympic 800m gold medallist, as saying.
“And we’re planning to hold anti-doping workshops at every national team training camp in the future.
“I’m sure that all of the country’s athletes understand clearly that the past should remain in the past. We’ve turned over a new leaf. We have a new team and all of its athletes are ‘clean’ now.”
Borzakovsky, who also won two silver and two bronze medals at world championships between 2003-11, added: “Discipline in the national squad will be much stricter.
“The athletes and their coaches will report to me on their work done every month.”
The 33-year-old Borzakovsky, who only called a halt to his own career in January, is ready to take full responsibility for the national squad’s performances.
“Now, after my official appointment, I can keep on working with optimism,” he said.
“I believe I have a clear view of the situation in the country’s athletics and totally accept my personal responsibility for the national team’s performance.”