Former head of Russia's anti-doping agency dies aged 52
Nikita Kamaev died of a "massive heart attack"
Russia has been banned from athletics over a huge doping scandal
The former head of Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA has died less than two months after resigning from his post.
Nikita Kamaev suffered a “massive heart attack,” according to a statement on the organization’s official website.
The 52-year-old stepped down in December following a doping scandal that saw Russia banned from international athletics.
“Nikita will stay in our memory as an experienced and knowledgeable manager, highly professional, a manager who created a friendly atmosphere within the company,” the RUSADA statement read.
“RUSADA expresses condolences to the family, dear ones and colleagues over the premature death of Nikita Kamaev.”
RUSADA’s former director general Ramil Khabriev was quoted as telling Russia’s TASS news agency that Kamaev had “complained of heartache after a skiing session.”
“He had never complained about heart problems, at least to me,” added Khabriev. “Maybe his wife knew about such problems.”
In November, a report by former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief Dick Pound released accused Russia of running a state-sponsored doping program.
It said there was a deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels within Russian athletics and that over 1,400 samples had been “intentionally or maliciously” destroyed by a Moscow laboratory.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) responded by banning Russia from competition. Speaking to CNN Sport last month IAAF president Seb Coe said there was no timetable for its return.
“It will be when we are satisfied that the changes have been made are both verifiable and sustainable,” he said. “This cannot be just a one-off change, we have to be sure that these changes are culturally embedded in the sport going forward.”
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Kamaev and a clutch of other top officials quit as Russia began the reform process it hopes will see it allowed it athletes to participate in the Rio Olympics.