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Russian Olympic chief rejects any impact of ruble slump on athletes' preparations

December 17, 2014, 14:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Ruble’s exchange rate has its impact, however, the Russian Olympic Committee will fulfill its tasks concerning the preparation of athletes despite the hiked spending in salaries, its president says
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russia will carry out all of earlier set tasks concerning training and preparation of its athletes for various sports events despite an easy financial situation in the country caused by the ruble’s slump, Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), said on Wednesday.

“Ruble’s exchange rate definitely has its impact,” Zhukov said. “The (ROC) budget stipulates foreign currency spending. Salaries of foreign coaches directly depend on exchange rates. However, we will fulfill all of our tasks concerning the preparation of our athletes despite the hiked spending in salaries.”

Fight against doping

The Russian Olympic Committee ROC allocated $20 million for the fight against doping abuse among athletes the committee’s president said.

“A total of $20 million was allocated for the fight against doping,” Zhukov said. “The fact that Russia unveils more of doping cases speaks for the effective work of RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency).”

Russia has been in the focus of a new doping scandal since early December, when German television aired a series of documentaries about alleged doping abuse by Russian athletes.

The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case) claimed that some Russian athletes had systematically taken prohibited formulas on instructions from their coaches.

Russian sports authorities dismissed all allegations in the German documentary, while Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA declared that it would conduct its own investigation of the personalities featuring in the documentary.

Zhukov’s announced figure of $20 million for the fight against doping abuse comes in the wake of the difficult financial situation in the country caused by the ruble’s slump.

Russia’s ruble exchange rate has slumped over the past few weeks to hit a record low of 75 rubles to the dollar on Tuesday and is currently hovering at above 68 rubles. The exchange rate in early November stood at little over 42 rubles and at an average of 33 rubles at the beginning of the year.

The Russian Olympic team made a considerable leap in its performance at this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi comparing to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver, where it finished with its worst ever medal tally in Winter Games, clinching three golds and ranking in 11th place in the overall medals standings.

This year, however, with only two days before the closing of the Sochi Olympics on February 23, the Russian team jumped in the first place of overall medals rankings and cemented the result on the last day of the Games by clinching two more gold, one silver and one bronze medals.

The team finished the Games with the overall result of 33 won medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer.

The 2014 Sochi Games were also the first Winter Olympics since 1952 when the Games’ hosting country won the highest overall number of awards as well as the biggest number of gold medals.

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