Interview with Hajo Seppelt

I came to Almaty on Jan. 5  in the late afternoon. Turned my phone on and saw a missed call from Mr. Seppelt. He sent me a text message asking the address of my hostel, I gave it to him and took a bus to downtown Almaty. In about an hour I reached my hostel.

I had just checked-in and put my bag into my room when I saw Hajo and two of his assistants entering the hostel.

I greeted them, I felt like I have known these people for a long time – so nice and polite they were. No high ego or foppery like the Russians have, simply nice and friendly people.

We set down in the living room and just started talking. They did not tell me what I can or what can I not say on camera, or how should I behave. We simply discussed the issue with Hajo like if he was my old friend. Our discussion kept on going for 2-3 hours and naturally flew into the interview on camera. The camera and the lights were set in the process.

During the interview, I simply explained my vision of what is going on in Russian track and filed right now and the way the system of doping has worked.

The bottom line was that not much changes have taken place in the Russian track and field.

More concrete, I said that I know that coaches who as for my knowledge has worked with doping are still coaching athletes and their athletes are on the national team or are the candidates to the national team up until today.

I named coach Kazarin, for example. He still continues to work with athletes including those who are on the national team.

I also named three other names who are the “dirtiest” coaches in the endurance events. The names are Epishin, Telyatnikov and Kuznetscov. These coaches are well known in Russia among the endurance athletes  as those who work with doping.

I really put myself into this interview emotionally. It was not easy at all, I was worrying a lot. But I answered the questions honestly and the way I see it.

The interview has continued for about an hour and went non-stop. Only in the last ten minutes I got exhausted emotionally and lost the enthusiasm, and so we had to do a “take two”.

After the interview we talked some more and made some more short videos for the film.



Overall, I was glad to meet the western-mentality people again after two years in Russia. These journalists are the professionals. Everything makes sense, everything works well. Everything is well done.

They did not try to provoke me or make me say anything I did not want to say. They did not try to misinterpret my words. Everything was simple and clear.

A number of times before I even agreed to speak on camera, Hajo asked me to make sure that I am ready to do that and that I will not endanger myself. He made sure that I will not regret this and he assured me that I will be under their full protection. He repeated this again after we had the interview done.

I did not get paid for this interview like many Russians say. I only got my tickets reimbursed. I flew to Almaty from Surgut and then flew back to Ekaterinburg. The cost was about 500 EURO and Hajo reimbursed the cost to me.

We thanked each other and then they left, and I went for a regular distance run.

I also want to take a moment and thank Hajo Seppelt for giving me the chance to speak up. I hope this will bring changes to our sport.


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