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Putin voices concern over rise of doping abuse among Russian athletes

June 02, 2015, 14:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia fell in the focus of a doping scandal in early December, when German television aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports

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MOSCOW, June 2. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he was disappointed with the recent rise of positive doping cases registered among Russian athletes and urged to enhance the fight against the abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

Addressing a session of the Council on the physical culture and sport on Tuesday, Putin said that while training athletes "it is important to draw a division line between what is allowed and what is prohibited in order to protect the purity of sports, as well as health and lives of athletes."

"Unfortunately, I should point out the rise of doping abuse cases among the Russian athletes," he said. "On the one hand, it speaks for the increase in the work efficiency of our [Russian] anti-doping services, but on the other, it speaks for the necessity to step up preventive efforts in this sphere."

The Russian president said it was necessary "to work out measures making doping abuse unjustified within the moral, financial, career and image dimensions."

Russia fell in the focus of a doping scandal in early December, when German television aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) was further hit by a series of high-profile doping scandals starting this year. On January 30, the RUSADA suspended country’s titled athletes Tatiana Chernova and Yulia Zaripova over doping abuse.

Runner Zaripova, a 2011 world athletics champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was disqualified for two years and six months from July 25, 2013. Chernova, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 world champion, was disqualified for two years from July 22, 2013.

RUSADA also announced in January that Olympic Champions in race walk Valery Borchin, Sergey Kirdyapkin and Olga Kaniskina as well as Russia’s 2011 World Champion Sergey Bakulin and 2011 World Championship silver medalist Vladimir Kanaikin were suspended after they were found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations.

Their suspensions were based on irregularities in their biological passports, which were indicators to abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

In the wake of high-profile doping scandals, former ARAF president Valentin Balakhnichev, who had been heading the federation for over 20 years and was reelected for another four-year term in 2012, announced his resignation on February 17. He handed over his powers to run the ARAF to First Vice President Vadim Zelichenok.

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