World champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov of Russia has said that the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, is the mastermind of sanctions on Russian sport.
“There is an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, Dick Pound, who is the main instigator of anti-Russian sanctions in sport,” the 2015 world 110m hurdles champion was quoted as saying by Punk You Brands.
“It was Pound who called to ban Russia from the PyeongChang [Winter Olympic] Games on multiple occasions. He often said that ‘all athletes will be disappointed if Russia is approved for the Games.
“And before the 2016 Rio Olympics he said, ‘If Russia is allowed to compete, the IOC is risking to lose its sponsors.’ Such statements voiced by a high rank official undoubtedly have an impact on how the Russian sports brand has been demonstrated in mass media,” he added.
Shubenkov said that Pound’s rigid stance on Russia influenced the position of others, including IOC members, who excluded more than 50 Russian athletes on the eve of the recent 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang for alleged doping violations.
“This man [Pound] speaks on behalf of everybody, he voices the IOC’s position. That’s why he influences other people, even those who theoretically should have sided with the [Russian] athletes,” Shubenkov said.
“Every sports body, including the IOC, athletics sports federation, and WADA has an Athletes Commission. Basically this commission should act in the interests of athletes, but actually they always reflect the position of the organization they represent.”
Pound has repeatedly accused Russia of alleged doping manipulations, calling on the IOC and WADA to implement harsh measures against Russian athletes. He also said that if enough teams boycott the 2018 World Cup this summer, then Russia could be stripped of the right to host the tournament.