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MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. The strong statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin blaming the country’s sports authorities for the doping scandal proves that the country’s leadership is determined to tackle the doping issue, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told TASS on Friday.
"This is a strong statement that demonstrates a clear commitment by the Russian authorities to tackle this problem. We hope that this will facilitate discussions with WADA and the IAAF in order to protect the clean athletes," the IOC press service said in a statement following a TASS request.
Putin lashed at the country’s sports officials at a government meeting on Wednesday over the doping scandal that has engulfed Russian athletics. The Russian leader urged the government to take measure to prevent such incidents in the future.
This year some 100 athletes have tested positive for meldonium, the drug recently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to the latest reports. The names of 14 athletes have been revealed. Ten Russians are among them: speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, tennis player Maria Sharapova, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, volleyball player Aleksandr Markin and rugby players Alexey and Alena Mikhaltsov.
Russia’s titled swimmer Yulia Yefimova has been provisionally suspended from competition over alleged doping. A source in the All Russian Swimming Federation earlier told TASS the athlete also tested positive for meldonium. On Thursday, another source told TASS this substance was found in the doping sample of Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.
Meldonium belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators). In sports, meldonium (mildronate) is used to enhance the human body’s endurance and ability to resist high physical strain during training and nervous and psychological stress during competitions. In the former Soviet states, the drug is used to prevent damage to the heart during high-intensity exercise. Since January 2016, the presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules.