Russian athletics boss ready to resign

Russian Athletics Federation chief Valentin Balakhnichev has said he is ready to step down from his post following a string of doping scandals, local media reports.

"My resignation may be necessary based on the needs of the athletics federation," Balakhnichev was quoted as saying by R-Sport news agency.

"I'd like to fulfill my obligations and to stay in charge until the end of all these scandals and investigations, but if the higher authorities decide that my resignation is required I'll definitely step down," he later told ITAR-TASS agency.

On Tuesday three Russian Olympic champions in race walking - Sergei Kirdyapkin, Valery Borchin and Olga Kaniskina - were all banned by the country's anti-doping agency RUSADA for abnormal indexes of haematological profiles in their biological passports.

The same punishment was meted out to 2011 50km world champion Sergei Bakulin.

Australian Jared Tallent, who won the silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012 behind Kirdyapkin, is furious at the way Russian authorities have handled the issue, calling it a "kick in the teeth."

Kirdyapkin has copped a three-year, two-month suspension from Russian authorities, backdated to October 2012.

But the punishment doesn't cover the London Olympics - held just a few months later - where Kirdyapkin won the 50km walk ahead of silver medallist Tallent.

To add insult to injury, the ban expires in time for him to contest the 2016 Rio Games.

"It's like they've just cherry-picked certain periods of time," said Tallent.

"I can't understand how ... he gets to keep his Olympic gold and then he's given a three-year, two-month ban so he can return for Rio. That's just outrageous.

"It's like the Russians are laughing at the rest of the world, saying they can do whatever they want. It's just crazy."

The bans for Russian race walking Olympic champions caused has angered the country's sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who announced his intention to purge the Russian athletics federation.

"This is very upsetting news for sport in Russia," Mutko told ITAR-TASS.