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RUSADA uses reliable ‘Rio-2016’ doping sample containers, says official

Earlier, reports emerged that Norway's pole-vaulter Sondre Guttormsen opened 3 sealed containers in the presence of a doping control officer during an inspection, without special equipment
RUSADA deputy director general Margarita Pakhnotskaya Ministry of Sport's press service
RUSADA deputy director general Margarita Pakhnotskaya
© Ministry of Sport's press service

MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is currently using Swiss company Berlinger’s doping sample containers, which were manufactured by the company especially for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, a senior official with the agency told TASS on Wednesday.

Margarita Pakhnotskaya, a RUSADA deputy director general, said there had be no complaints at all regarding the ‘Rio-2016’ edition of containers for storing doping samples in terms of their reliability.

"RUSADA is currently using containers, for collecting doping samples, made by the Swiss company Berlinger especially for the 2016 Olympics," Pakhnotskaya said in an interview with TASS. "We had no complaints whatsoever regarding these containers in terms of their reliability."

"Theoretically, product failures may possibly occur even with the production of top quality goods, but we have never run into defective containers from the ‘Rio-2016’ edition," she said. "Following a doping control procedure, an athlete personally closes containers with his or her doping sample under strict supervision of a doping control officer, who then personally checks whether the container can be opened. Therefore, it is impossible that a third party can later open this bottle."

Last week, video footage was circulated on the Internet, showing Norwegian pole-vaulter Sondre Guttormsen easily opening three sealed containers with doping samples. According to the video, he opened them in the presence of a doping control officer during an inspection and without using special equipment.

The Norwegian anti-doping body is using standard bottles produced by Swiss company Berlinger for storing collected doping samples, just like the rest of the world.

"Speaking about the video footage with the Norwegian athlete opening three containers, I believe that he was holding the new ‘Geneva’ edition of containers, which were produced especially for the [2018] Olympics in South Korea," Pakhnotskaya said.

"Perhaps, many still remember the scandal, which broke out a year ago regarding these containers, when it turned out that some of these bottles could be opened after they had been frozen."

"In fact, a defect was discovered at that time, during freezing, the plastic neck of the container was compressed, after which the sealed cap could be unscrewed," the RUSADA official continued. "RUSADA also carried out an experiment at that time and managed to open a container from the new series after it had been frozen."

"Back then the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] asked to switch to the previous edition of containers [Rio-2016] and after a relatively short period we [RUSADA] just like all other national anti-doping agencies decided against using doping samples containers of the ‘Geneva’ series," she said. "When using the new-edition containers for several days, we [RUSADA] have been applying additional seals on them.".