Russian whistleblowers Yuliya Stepanova and Vitaly Stepanov believe drug cheats from the country will be competing at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, despite attempts to eradicate them.
The husband and wife, forced to flee Russia and now living in an undisclosed location in the United States, were interviewed by BBC Sport following the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission’s decision to ban Stepanova from Rio 2016 due to her "long implication in a doping system".
Last month, Stepanova, an 800 metres runner banned for two years in 2013 following abnormalities in her biological passport, became the first Russian athlete to be granted permission to compete internationally under a neutral flag by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The exemption was granted as it was her allegations which led to the current suspension of Russian athletes from international competition following the scandal over doping in their country.
The IOC has asked International Federations to ban Russians either implicated in Richard McLaren’s damning report, which uncovered the presence of a state-sponsored doping scheme at several major events spanning over 30 sports, or those previously sanctioned.
More than 100 Russian athletes have so far been barred from competing at the Olympics in a number of sports, including swimming, canoeing, rowing, sailing and modern pentathlon.
Stepanova and husband Stepanov, a former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official, told BBC Sport: "There will be athletes who have used doping from Russia in Rio."
Stepanova’s participation at the Games had been viewed by many as key to encouraging more whistleblowers to come forward, but the IOC were required to sanction her participation at the Olympics.
The IOC referred the decision on her participation to its Ethics Commission, who while praising Stepanova's contribution to the "fight against doping", said they took into account her "own long implication, of at least five years, in this doping system".
The Ethics Commission also factored in "the timing of her whistleblowing, which came after the system did not protect her any longer following a positive test for which she was sanctioned for doping for the first time".
"You didn't really have a choice if you wanted to be a member of the national team,” said Stepanov, whose wife has asked the IOC to review the decision.
"She has served her ban, fully served her ban, she thinks that she should not be punished a second time for something that she did in the past."
The close relationship of IOC President Thomas Bach with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has been called into question after Russia escaped a blanket ban from the upcoming Olympics.
Asked whether Bach could make a decision on Russia’s participation at the Games in light of the relationship, Stepanova replied: "I do not know if they have a personal relationship, I have no evidence of that.
"But the IOC showed that first of all there is no punishment for running a systematic doping programme in the largest country in the world.
"And second, they protected not the majority of clean athletes globally, but they protected clean athletes in Russia, and in the bigger picture there are a lot more clean athletes globally than just in Russia, so I personally feel they should have been on the side of the global clean community not the Russian clean community."
Stepanov, meanwhile, told Reuters that the IOC is more concerned about protecting the organisation than ridding world sport of drugs cheats.
"My personal view, from the communications we had with people from the IOC, those people had no interest in clean sport," he said in a telephone interview.
"I got the impression the only thing they cared about, even the person from the ethics department, is protecting the IOC as an organisation."
Stepanov also said that an IOC invite to attend Rio 2016 as spectators left them cold.
"I felt like, 'Are you trying to buy us?'," he added.
"Is that how IOC treats whistleblowers?
"Make them quiet by giving them IOC accreditation and access to VIP lounges."