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Russia mulls sending some 70 field and track athletes to 2016 Olympics — sports minister

January 18, 19:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"I cannot imagine myself the Olympic tournament without the competition between the American and Russian athletes," Vitaly Mutko noted
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Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Between 60 and 70 field and track athletes have chances of taking spots in the Russian national Olympic squad for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said in an interview with Russia’s Match-TV television channel on Monday.

"I cannot imagine myself the Olympic tournament without the competition between the American and Russian athletes," Mutko said. "Such competition always serves as a treat at all tournaments."

"As of today, we [Russia] have amassed a number of problems in the national field and track athletics and must now settle calmly all of them," he said. "A new managing staff of ARAF [the All-Russia Athletics Federation] was elected on Saturday, we have restored a proper control over the federation and elected the new president - Dmitry Shlyakhtin."

During its election session on January 16, ARAF elected its new president Dmitry Shlyakhtin, who is the minister of sports of Russia’s Samara Region, as well as members of the federation’s Council. The voting at the federation’s conference in Moscow last Saturday featured 119 officials, who represented regional federations (66) and regional divisions (53).

"We have also defined a group of potential candidates for the trip to Rio de Janeiro. The group includes between 60 and 70 athletes, who will be systematically training for the Games."

The Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (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) announced at its Council meeting in November that a report prepared by 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.

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