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Putin to discuss preparations for 2016 Olympics

November 11, 2015, 8:25 UTC+3 SOCHI
The problem of doping in Russia, raised earlier this week by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), may be discussed, although it is not on the official agenda
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Nikolsky

SOCHI, November 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting on Wednesday with heads of the country’s sports federations to discuss issues related to Russian athletes’ preparation for the XXXI Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016, the Kremlin press service reported. Putin’s session with the Russian senior sports officials is scheduled to take place against the background of the recently evolved scandal concerning the alleged mass abuse of performance enhancing drugs among the country’s field and track athletes.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the problem of doping in Russia, raised earlier this week by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), may be discussed, although it is not on the official agenda. "I do not rule out that this issue will be raised, of course. At least some information will be provided by Russian Sports Minister [Vitaly] Mutko," the Kremlin spokesman said.

The WADA Independent Commission delivered on Monday a report on its investigation into doping abuse allegations involving Russian athletes and recommended that the IAAF suspend all athletes of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) from participation in international competitions.

It also recommended to ban for life five Russian athletes and five coaches over their involvement in doping abuse violations as well as to strip the Moscow anti-doping laboratory of its license and sack its director Grigory Rodchenkov.

Peskov said earlier in the day commenting on the developing situation that allegations against Russian sports over the massive use of doping performance enhancing drugs were groundless and not backed up by evidence so far.

The Russian Sports Ministry, in turn, advised WADA to focus on real facts during the investigation against Russian athletes.

Richard Pound, the head of the WADA Independent Commission told a news conference on Monday that the delivered on Monday commission’s report was only the first part and the final text of the investigation’s report would be published by the end of the year.

In December 2014 German TV Channel ARD 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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in June his deep disappointment with the rise of positive doping cases registered among Russian athletes and urged to enhance the fight against the abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

On August 1 this year ARD released another documentary "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics." The film claimed that ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times had obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which contained more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012.

ARD further alleged that a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests but none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

The Sunday Times also alleged that Russian athletes suspected of doping abuse had won 80% of medals for their country at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

Also on Wednesday, the president will continue "meetings with the army commanders and chief designers" he has been having since Monday, Peskov said. Apart from that, Putin’s plans for Thursday include a number of working meetings, including with Interros CEO Vladimir Potanin, the Kremlin spokesman added.

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