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Russian sports chief notes positive shifts in talks with WADA on anti-doping issues

March 15, 14:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Wednesday there was a positive shift in the overall atmosphere in negotiations with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and national anti-doping organizations (NADOs) regarding the recent allegations on the abuse of performance enhancing drugs by Russian athletes.

The Russian sports minister attended this week WADA’s annual symposium in Lausanne, where besides meetings with international anti-doping officials he delivered a report on Russia’s progress in the elimination of doping rules violations.

"Issues concerning the fight against the doping abuse in sports were on the top of the symposium’s agenda," Kolobkov said. "It seemed to me that the general atmosphere assumed a more constructive nature."

"We are now hearing each other and it can be attributed both to the world society and international anti-doping agencies," Kolobkov said adding "that a lot still has to be done."

"This is a very important year as it comes before the (2018 Winter) Olympics," the Russian sports minister said. "We (Russia) are implementing WADA’s roadmap and I hope that in May we will see a positive report concerning the improvements of our anti-doping policies."

The next Winter Olympics, which are XXIII Winter Olympic Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.

Less than two years ago, the WADA Independent Commission carried out an investigation of the activities of RUSADA, the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and the Russian Sports Ministry, and announced the results of the probe on November 9, 2015.

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. The work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and RUSADA was eventually suspended.

Starting in January 2016, control over anti-doping regulations in Russian sports has been exercised by RUSADA strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

Addressing the annual WADA Symposium on Monday, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said the world’s governing anti-doping organization hammered out a roadmap for RUSADA’s membership reinstatement with WADA and one of the key provisions stated in the document was a requirement for Russia to recognize the findings in the now-infamous McLaren report.

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