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Russia’s anti-doping chief: Sports world shows unprecedented attitude to Russian athletes

July 28, 11:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s position in many international sports federations has been damaged, Head of the Russian Anti-Doping Commission Vitaly Smirnov said
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© Alexandr Sherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. The sports world is showing an unprecedented attitude to Russian athletes on the eve of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Head of the Russian Anti-Doping Commission and Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vitaly Smirnov said on Thursday.

"There is an unprecedented attitude to our athletes. This has never been before. This causes big regret. Today the principle for a part of athletes is already to participate rather than to win. Our athletes are good fellows as they understand these complexities," Smirnov said.

Russia’s position in many international sports federations has been damaged, Vitaly Smirnov said.

"We have lost our standing in many federations, including largest ones, athletics and swimming. Our positions are quite unstable in a number of other federations," Smirnov said.

The independent anti-doping commission of the Russian Olympic Committee will keep the public updated on its work, the head of the commission, Smirnov went on.

"We will keep you updated. We are now heading to the Olympics - some of us earlier, some later, but we will be ready to meet with you once again shortly after the Games and inform you," he said.

"We will be grateful if you send us the information coming to you, we urge your cooperation. You are the main participants, you must expose problems and help us settle them," Smirnov said.

On July 22, President Vladimir Putin suggested that the Russian Olympic Committee should set up an independent anti-doping commission. Smirnov, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, was appointed its head on July 25.

The commission will consist of prominent athletes and representatives of international sports federations and the media.

Chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping commission Vitaly Smirnov will meet with the head of the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Richard McLaren, the author of the Russian Olympic doping report.

"I am travelling to the Olympics in a few days’ time," Smirnov said on Thursday. "I am planning to take part in the session as agreed with the International Olympic Committee and meet with McLaren, (Richard) Pound (former WADA head) and (Craig) Reedie (current WADA President).

The Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chaired by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren released a report on July 18 on the results of its probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

According to the details, the commission claimed it had found evidence that Russia’s Sports Ministry and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service had covered up a doping program in Russian sports.

The report from WADA’s Commission stated in particular that the Commission’s investigation registered a total of 643 cases of Disappearing Positive Test Results in Russia between 2012 and 2015 involving athletes from 30 sports.

Following the commission’s report last week, WADA recommended the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all international sports federations to ban Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.

After a conference call by its Executive Board on July 24, the IOC urged international federations for winter sports events to suspend preparations for major competitions in Russia. The motion will be in effect until December 31, 2016 and may be reviewed at a December session of the IOC Executive Board.

IOC President Thomas Bach, however, announced on Sunday that Russian athletes, with the exception of field and track competitors, were allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics based on individual approval of each respective international sports federation or association.

His statement followed last Sunday’s teleconference of the IOC Executive Board, which, however, ruled that no Russian athlete, who had been previously sanctioned for doping would be allowed to take part in the Rio Olympics, even if they have served the sanction as well as any athlete mentioned in the McLaren report.

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