Leading Russian anti-doping official dies suddenly
The former executive director of the Russian anti-doping agency, Rusada, has died, two months after leaving his post amid the country's doping scandal.
Rusada spokeswoman Nataliya Koshel confirmed to the Associated Press on Monday that N ikita Kamaev had died, two months after quitting work at the agency which is at the centre of Russia's biggest doping scandal. He was 52.
Former Rusada general director Ramil Khabriev told Russia's state Tass news agency that he believed Mr Kamaev had died at home of a "massive heart attack" after feeling pain in his chest.
"I've been told that he was out cross-country skiing, came home and felt pain in the area of the heart," Mr Khabriev said. "I'd never heard him complain of anything to do with his heart. Perhaps his wife knew about some sort of problem."
Mr Kamaev and Mr Khabriev both quit in December as the Russian Sports Ministry pushed for the agency to carry out reforms under new leadership. That was a month after Rusada was stopped from carrying out drug tests when the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) declared it non-compliant with anti-doping rules.
A Wada commission had accused Rusada of covering up cases of doping by leading Russian athletes, giving them advance knowledge of supposedly surprise tests and allowing banned athletes to continue competing.
Mr Kamaev was the day-to-day head of Rusada's operations from 2011 until his resignation in December.
The day after the Wada commission's report emerged accusing Rusada of covering up doping, he made a vehement defence of the organisation, saying it had been fighting drug use effectively and claiming that the commission had produced a biased report based on unreliable evidence from athletes who had been caught doping.
"Some of the issues have a particular acuteness and are, if you like, politicised," he said at the time. Accusations that agents from Russia's FSB security service had infiltrated the doping lab for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were the product of an "inflamed imagination", he added.
Mr Kamaev's death comes less than two weeks after that of another former senior Rusada figure, founding chairman Vyacheslav Sinev, who had left the agency in 2010. Rusada said he had died on February 3 but did not provide further details.