KRASNODAR, May 23. /TASS/. Russia needs expanding its representation in international sports federations, Russian Sport Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Tuesday at a sports development session, attended by President Vladimir Putin.
"It is important to expand Russia’s representation in international federations," Kolobkov said addressing a session of the Council on the Physical Culture and Sport Development in Russia’s Krasnodar.
"Russian athletes finished the pre-Olympic season in the fourth place in terms of overall medals won and in the fifth in terms of overall gold medals won, and they have the potential," Kolobkov said. "However, we need to take into account the pressure they are subjected to, while they would do everything possible to show a decent performance."
"The main task for winter sports is the preparation for the 2018 Olympics," the minister said. "The current year is the key one as it is the year of the Olympic licenses distribution."
The sports minister also touched upon an issue of Russia’s work in the direction of the fight against abuse of performance enhancing drugs.
"The International Olympic Committee is re-testing doping samples and many of our athletes were stripped of their medals," he said. "We must change this situation in close cooperation with international federations and we will change it."
"Russia has opened its borders for foreign anti-doping officers and made the anti-doping system transparent - we have also introduced criminal responsibility for encouraging athletes into doping abuse," Kolobkov added.
Earlier in the day, Russia’s Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (IPADC) announced that it issued a national plan on the fight against the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports.
The plan must be implemented before the end of 2017 and envisages a substantial reduction of anti-doping rules violations in Russia.