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Minister: Allegations against Russian athletes in WADA report not well-grounded

July 29, 11:36 UTC+3
"Over the past years, a colossal job has been done in Russia to create an anti-doping system, we have built a lab, enacted laws," Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko said
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 Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko

Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko

© Sergei Savostianov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 29./TASS/. Accusations against Russian athletes based on the report by WADA’s Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor, Richard McLaren, are sometimes groundless, Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko told reporters on Friday.

"Many details have not been taken into consideration regarding the banning of Russian athletes from the Olympics based on McLaren’s list. We see that the list is not faultless and at times unsubstantiated. This is the case in rowing and some other sports. I am grateful to the majority of our sports federations that meticulously defended our athletes’ rights," he said.

"Over the past years, a colossal job has been done in Russia to create an anti-doping system, we have built a lab, enacted laws," the sports minister continued. "A total of 15,000 athletes have been tested yearly, about 200 have been disqualified for violations," the minister said.

National anti-doping program

The national anti-doping program will be adopted at a sports forum in Russia at the end of September, Vitaly Mutko said.

"An independent anti-doping commission has been set up, with Vitaly Smirnov chairing it. They will formulate proposals, coordinate them with WADA. I hope we will be able to adopt this strategy at the forum (Russia is Sports Power!) at the end of September," the minister said.

On July 22, President Vladimir Putin proposed to the Russian Olympic Committee to set up a public commission to control doping in sports. On July 25, the Committee’s executive board approved Vitaly Smirnov, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee, as chairman of the commission. The commission brings together renowned athletes and sports functionaries among others.

Smirnov is the Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee and an honorary member of the IOC where he has been working for 45 years by now.

On Russian Olympic team

The Russian Olympic team currently comprises 272 athletes but may further increase, Sports Minister said.

"Today the Russian national team comprises 272 persons but tends to increase further. The team is experienced and serious. We’ll compete in 30 out of 34 disciplines. I believe we’ll compete for top places in 19-20 sports events," Mutko said.

On July 24, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a meeting of its executive board to discuss possible blanket ban of Russian athletes at the Rio Olympics. The IOC executive committee decided not to ban the Russian team. Individual decision on Russian athletes will be taken by relevant international federations. Apart from that, the IOC ruled than no Russian athlete who has ever been sanctioned for doping will be allowed to take part in the Rio Olympics, even if he or she has served the sanction.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission, chaired by 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.

In particular, the report from WADA’s Commission stated 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.

The International Olympic Committee announced on Sunday that Russian athletes, with the exception of track and field competitors, were allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics based on individual approval of each respective international sports federation or association. However, it was also ruled than no Russian athlete, who had been previously sanctioned for doping would be allowed to take part in the Rio Olympics.

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