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Putin orders sports minister to hold internal investigation of doping scandal

November 11, 2015, 23:28 UTC+3
Responsibility of the use of doping in sports should be personalized and those who are not responsible should not bear responsibility for others, Putin stressed
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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS, archive

SOCHI, November 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the Russian Sports Ministry and the Olympic Committee to ensure effective training of the Russian national team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"As for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, I would like to ask the Russian Sports Ministry and the Olympic Committee to focus on training athletes for the national team and hold joint sessions in order to clearly regulate measures and our action plans that will ensure the maximum effective use of time left before the Olympic Games," Putin said at a conference devoted to preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Responsibility for doping should be personalized

Responsibility of the use of doping in sports should be personalized and those who are not responsible should not bear responsibility for others, Putin continued. "If we come to a conclusion that someone is responsible for an action that breaks the rules in the anti-doping sphere, then the responsibility for this should be personalized," he said.

"It’s absolutely clear the athletes who stay away from the dopes, who have never used or touched them shouldn’t be responsible because of those who are encroaching on something," Putin said, urging officials to cooperate with counterparts from international organizations.

The Russian president also called to protect Russian athletes from the use of doping. "Issues of fighting doping in sports are unfortunately still urgent and require constant attention. Regarding the latest events connected with our athletics federation, I ask the sports minister, all colleagues who are connected with sports in this or that way, to pay close attention to that," Putin said.

Internal investigation

"It’s necessary to conduct an internal investigation of our own and ensure the most open, professional, I would underscore, cooperation with international anti-doping structures," he said.

Putin underscored that Russia should do everything possible to get rid of the problem. He said the problem is not purely Russian. "But if our foreign colleagues have questions, they should be closed, and this should be done in an open, professional, conscientious work with our colleagues," he said.

Moscow hopes for reasonable approach in investigation

Russia hopes for a reasonable approach on the part of international organizations in the situation with accusations of Russian athletes of using doping, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Wednesday.

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

It also recommended on Monday 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.

"I would now like to hope for a reasonable, calm approach of our international organizations - the International Olympic Committee, the IAAF, WADA. Of course, there are conclusions of the Independent Commission. But they need to be analyzed. Because, naturally, the commission’s task was to consider problems, shortcomings," Mutko said.

"No one has considered how much the country has done to improve the situation," he said.

"The key principle of the international sports movement and all philosophy of WADA is built on the principle that it is necessary to protect conscientious athletes," Mutko said. "Russia’s national athletics team has 90% of athletes, or even more, who are conscientious."

"We don’t hide that we have problems too. But I will say once again: we are capable of coping with all that," he said.

Russia ready to cooperate

Russia is ready to cooperate with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the fight against doping should be consistent and calm, Mutko told journalists. "We need a clear roadmap - what we should do. I am confident that we are ready to cooperate with WADA. And we are ready to hold recertification of Moscow anti-doping laboratory. We should continue consistent and calm work, cooperate with international organizations," Mutko said.

"Of course, we tried to follow recommendations that IOC [International Olympic Committee] and WADA have provided to us over the last four years. Last monitoring confirmed that Russia adheres to anti-doping standards. And the commission says that it does not," the minister noted.

"We are open. In this case, we want to seriously work together. Russia does so much in sports not to be accused of doping violations. We want to be partners of the world sports," Mutko stressed.

Russian athletes should take part in Olympics

The Russian track-and-field team must appear at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio despite the doping scandal, the chief coach of the team, Yuri Borzakovsky, told reporters on Thursday.

"To what degree is the threat of disqualification of the Russian team tangible?" Borzakovsky said after the session with representatives of sports federations that was held in Sochi and chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. "For the time being, these facts are unconfirmed. I think the situation will be resolved in favor of our team. We hope that athletes will perform at the Olympic Games. As I said, the current generation of athletes should not be blamed. Why they recall past years and want to disqualify the current team? I just don’t understand this," he noted.

Borzakovsky also said that the doping scandal exerts pressure on Russian athletes during the preparation for the Olympics. "What are the main results of the session? The Russian team should continue preparing for the Olympics despite all these doping scandals which have emerged now. Of course, this exerts psychological pressure on athletes," he concluded.

Time to unite like never before

Russian athletes have to perform successfully at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil and should not let down their country and president, President of the Russian Wrestling Federation Mikhail Mamiashvili said on Thursday.

"Today we should unite like never before and become a firm but open and kind nation. Our athletes have no right to let down our country and president at Rio Olympics," Mamiashvili said.

The session on preparation of the Russian team for 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has just finished in Sochi with participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov and heads of summer sports federations.

"I am very happy with how the session ended," Mamiashvili noted. "It was a very lively discussion. All problems of separate kinds of sports were voices. Of course, we discussed general issues. Over the course of the session, instructions were given to Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and heads of federations," he added.

Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro will be held on August 5-21 2016.

Doping scandal

On Monday, an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publisherd the results of a probe into the activities of the Russian Athletics Federation; the Moscow anti-doping laboratory; the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry.

WADA’s independent report contains numerous indictments of Russian officials and individual athletes as well as a call to disqualify the national athletics federation. That can bar Russian athletes from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The investigation was prompted by reports of Germany’s ARD channel and British newspaper The Sunday Times who claimed that 80% of Russian athletes who won medals at major athletics tournaments from 2001 to 2012 had suspicious doping tests.

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