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FIE chief speaks for Russian fencers’ doping testing at WADA laboratories

December 28, 2015, 20:51 UTC+3
The Russian Fencing Federation (RFF) earlier put forward an initiative of testing the national athletes, qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, at the laboratories of WADA
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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Korotayev

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. Athletes from the Russian national fencing team should undergo doping tests ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in laboratories certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Alisher Usmanov, the president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), said on Monday in an interview with Russian television.

The Russian Fencing Federation (RFF) earlier put forward an initiative of testing the national athletes, qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, at the laboratories of WADA, while the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was stripped temporarily of the relevant obligations.

"This will help avoiding possible speculations that athletes had a possibility of resorting to banned substances while the activities of the anti-doping laboratory on the territory of Russia were suspended and they [the fencers] were preparing for the [2016] Olympic Games at that time," Usmanov said in an interview with Rossiya-24 television channel.

"I completely support this [RFF] initiative as the FIE president," he said. "Together, we will show that Russian fencers were never into wrongdoings and never violated regulations."

"I believe it extremely important to avoid the intended slander in regard of the Russian sports," Usmanov said. "A total of 11 countries were mentioned in the doping scandal besides Russia."

"Definitely not the whole Russian athletic team must be subjected to the ban, as most of the proved doping abusers were representing two or, maybe, three competitions out of 21 in total. This is completely not fair. We must stand up against it."

The WADA Independent Commission published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activity of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the RUSADA and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the decision of the agency’s Independent Committee that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said at its Council meeting in November that a report prepared by the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on the struggle against doping was unsatisfactory and decided by a majority of votes to suspend Russia’s membership in the international athletics association.

Experts say it is highly possible that Russian national athletics teams will be suspended from the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil next year.

Athletics doping scandal

The WADA Independent Commission was set up and began its work following a series of German documentaries on the alleged mass use of performance enhancing drugs among Russia’s field and track athletes.

Sports Minister Mutko traveled on November 25-26 to Germany’s Frankfurt, where he met with the administration of WADA, and a Road Map on the settlement of the current situation was drafted as a result of that meeting.

The Russian government announced on December 21 that the Russian Sports Ministry would be in charge of overseeing the work of the newly reorganized Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory. The Russian government is reorganizing the previously independent Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory into a federal state budget-financed institution with the Ministry of Sport to oversee its work.

The Russian Sports Ministry was given a period of three months of implementing all measures necessary to transform the laboratory into a state budget-finance institution.

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, 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.

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