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Kremlin considers attempts to politicize sports as unacceptable and inexcusable

March 09, 2016, 13:09 UTC+3

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov also expressed confidence that new doping accusations against Russian athletes will be thoroughly investigated

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Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© Yuri Mashkov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. The Kremlin considers attempts to politicize sports as unacceptable and inexcusable, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

"Attempts to politicize sports, attempts to add character to sports of some kind of political instrument for achieving some aims, are destructive for sports, for international sports, and are unacceptable and inexcusable," Peskov said answering a TASS question on whether the Kremlin sees any political motives behind new doping accusations brought against Russian athletes.

Peskov also expressed confidence that new doping accusations against Russian athletes will be thoroughly investigated. "If you remember how several months ago a presidential council on sports held a session in Sochi, and the president made a statement then, clearly assigning our sports officials to investigate each concrete [doping] case, and do it as openly as possible in full cooperation with relevant international structures," the spokesman explained. "We are confident that this time it will be like this as well," he added.

Peskov confirmed that the presidential administration receives information on this matter from the Ministry of Sport. "Of course, we regret this [new doping allegations]," Peskov said adding that the situation should not be extended over all Russian sports. "The situation should not be presented in such a way that it somehow casts a shadow on all Russian sports, on great achievements of our athletes," he noted adding that doping accusations are always made against individual athletes.

A high number of positive doping tests carried out since January 1, 2016 has been found due to meldonium, Ben Nichols, spokesman for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) twitted on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russian figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova’s doping test confirmed positive for the banned substance. Later in the day, Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova said she tested positive for meldonium in her anti-doping sample collected at the Australian Open on January 26. On Tuesday, Dmitry Dorofeyev, the coach of the five-time world champion Pavel Kulizhnikov, told TASS that the speed skater had failed doping test for this substance.

Besides, meldonium was found in the anti-doping samples provided by the short track speed skater Semyon Yelistratov, the Sochi Olympic champion, and Alexander Markin, a member of the Russian volleyball team. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that several new cases of positive doping tests for meldonium may emerge but disqualifications will not be of mass character.

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances on 16 September 2015, coming into effect on January 1, 2016. It was previously on WADA's list of drugs to be monitored. WADA considers the drug to be a "metabolic modulator", similar to insulin. A December 2015 study in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis argued that meldonium "demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system (CNS) functions.".

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