Klitschko urges new drug tests for Ukraine presidential poll candidates
Former world heavyweight boxing champion says last week's doping tests ahead of a run-off were a farce and offers to pay for new ones
Berlin — Former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko on Wednesday dismissed as a “farce” the doping tests performed on both Ukraine presidential election candidates last week and offered to pay for new ones.
Independent US experts of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association were in Kiev on Wednesday and ready to perform tests of both candidates, Klitschko told Germany’s Bild daily, offering to pay the bill.
In a sensational media event last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his challenger, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, both took drug tests ahead of their April 21 election runoff.
The tests were among unusual conditions laid down by the first-round frontrunner Zelensky, 41, before he would agree to a public debate with Poroshenko, 53.
Poroshenko was tested by medics at a lab at the Olympic Stadium, with a video broadcast live on his Facebook page, while Zelensky chose to undergo tests at a private clinic controlled by one of his supporters.
Both candidates said their respective test results were negative.
Klitschko, 43, told Bild: “I do not support either candidate, but the two doping tests that were conducted were a farce.
“As an athlete, I’ve done hundreds of doping tests in 30 years and I know that you cannot get results that quickly. Politicians should not treat their voters this way. Therefore, we require independent testing with the world-renowned experts who are already in Kiev. I will pay the costs for the tests.”
He added that “in general, I think it’s right that presidential candidates are screened for substances, because they are meant to ensure the well-being of millions of people”.
Zelensky, best known for playing the president in a television show, is favourite to become Ukraine’s next leader after he dominated a first-round vote on March 31, despite many dismissing his candidacy as a joke.