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GENEVA, May 17. /TASS/. A total of 31 athletes competing in six different sports may be barred from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro over violations of anti-doping regulations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced in its statement on Tuesday.
The IOC Executive Board met for a special session earlier in the day to discuss efforts of stepping up the fight against the drugs cheats and provide measures to protect clean athletes ahead of the Olympics in Rio.
"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) retested 454 selected doping samples from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008," the statement said. "The re-tests follow work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Federations."
"They were focused on athletes who could potentially start at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and were conducted using the very latest scientific analysis methods," the statement said. "As a result up to 31 athletes from six sports could be banned from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio."
The IOC also said that "the fight to protect the clean athletes does not stop there, with 250 more results from retesting of samples from the Olympic Games London 2012 to come shortly."
"The aim is to stop any drugs cheats coming to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," the statement added.
The committee has also called on the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to provide all-embracing cooperation in WADA’s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) new probe into doping allegations at 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
The world's governing Olympic body said in a statement on Tuesday that its Executive Board "has requested WADA to initiate a fully fledged investigation into allegations that testing at the Sochi Laboratory was subverted."
"The IOC has already requested the Russian Olympic Committee to undertake all efforts to ensure the full cooperation of the Russian side in the WADA investigation," the statement said.
"The IOC has put its Medical and Scientific Director [Richard Budgett], who himself is an Olympic Champion, at the disposal of the WADA investigation," the statement said. Based on the result of this investigation the IOC will take swift action."
In an interview with New York Times, published last week, ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov claimed that the Russian sports authorities 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.
The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 won 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.