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Russian Sports Minister meets national track-and-fielders for 2016 Olympics

January 20, 2016, 17:32 UTC+3

Vitaly Mutko announced on Monday that 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

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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

NOVOGORSK /Moscow Region/, January 20. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko held a meeting on Wednesday with the country’s field and track athletes, who are preparing for the competitions in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

The meeting took place in the Novogorsk training center outside Moscow, where the sport minister also met with Yury Borzakovsky, the head coach of the national athletics team, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the newly-elected president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), and Mikhail Butov, the ARAF general secretary.

Borzakovsky said in an interview with TASS that "the meeting with the minister went well."

"The national team was introduced to Shlyakhtin, the new president of the [athletics] federation," Borzakovsky said. "Some of the criteria were voiced for the upcoming tournaments."

"If under the current situation… we are allowed in March to go, we will certainly abide by them [the set criteria] in regard to the process of qualification for the Olympics," he said. "The ARAF will make certain decisions and they will be voiced soon."

"All of the athletes are in good mood," Borzakovsky said. "We are currently holding winter Grand Prix competitions. We already held two out of total nine. The final will be held within the frames of the Russian championship. As we have already stated the winter season [competitions] will be held on the territory of Russia."

Mutko announced on Monday that 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.

During its election session on January 16, ARAF elected its new president 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).

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.

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 WADA Independent Commission was set up and began its work, following a series of German documentaries, first aired in December 2014, on the alleged mass use of performance enhancing drugs among Russia’s field and track athletes.

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