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Russian Sports Ministry to decide on suing New York Times in two days

May 16, 12:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s Sports Ministry will decide within the next two days on suing The New York Times, which accused the ministry of implementing a special doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics — ministry
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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

© Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Russia’s Sports Ministry will decide within the next two days on suing The New York Times, which accused the ministry of implementing a special doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Monday.

The New York Times published an interview last week with ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov who claimed that the Russian sports authorities had allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. The ex-doping official said some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances.

"We’ll take a decision today or tomorrow after the legal service of the Sports Ministry makes a conclusion," Mutko said.

"Such a task has already been assigned to it and several law firms have been involved in the effort. I admit the possibility of filing a lawsuit either from the ministry or from athletes. We’ll see," the sports minister said.

According to The New York Times, the names of bobsledder Alexander Zubkov (two gold medals at the 2014 Olympics in two-and four-men bobs), skier Alexander Legkov (the gold medalist in the 50-km race and the silver medalist in the relay race) and skeleton racer Alexander Tretyakov (gold) were allegedly mentioned in that "doping program."

Russian Sports Minister Mutko told TASS on Wednesday that foreign media reports on the allegedly ongoing doping abuse among Russian athletes were part of information attacks on the sports in the country.

"There is nothing surprising for me about it," Mutko said in his Wednesday interview with TASS. "Information attacks against the Russian sports are still under way."

The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer.

Russian sports has been in the center of doping-related scandals since last year. Starting this year doping control in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

WADA’s Independent Commission published on November 9 last year 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 finding of the agency’s Independent Commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.

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