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Doping scandal designed to weaken Russian athletes before 2020 Olympics — sports official

In late November, the WADA Compliance Review Committee recommended that Russia be barred from all international sports competitions for a four-year period over inconsistencies in the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Potential sanctions against Russia have been designed to hamper preparations of the Russian national team for the 2020 Olympics, Secretary General of the Russian Volleyball Federation Alexander Yaryomenko told a news conference at TASS on Friday.

"It is usual pressure which starts the year prior to the Olympic Games. We already had similar experience before the 2016 and 2018 Olympic Games. The pressure has been enforced to throw someone off balance and to make someone throw in the towel. However, we do not fixate on it and go ahead with 100-percent preparations for the competitions," Yaryomenko said.

"We have already stepped on that rake, since a similar situation had left its imprint during the 2016 Rio Olympics. We will try to ensure that the result of our work is not affected by what is going on," he added.

Tokyo will host Olympic Games next summer. In 2022, Russia was scheduled to host the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship.

On November 25, the WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC) reiterated its previous recommendation for the world anti-doping body’s Executive Committee (ExCo) to strip RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) of its compliance status and came up with a recommendation of additional sanctions against Russian sports.

Among the recommended sanctions, the CRC suggested barring Russia from all international sports competitions, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for a four-year period. The Committee also issued a recommendation to deprive Russia of the right to host international sports events during this period. The WADA Executive Committee will pass a final decision on Russia at its meeting on December 9 in Paris.

The WADA Executive Committee reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on September 20, 2018 on condition that before December 31, 2018 WADA experts would be granted access to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.

Specialists from WADA were granted access to the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory in January this year and copied 24 terabytes of information on Russian athletes’ doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015. WADA experts finished their work to retrieve doping samples from the Moscow Lab on April 30 having collected 2,262 doping samples in 4,524 containers (Samples A and B).

One of WADA’s new international standards on the compliance status states that athletes coming from countries where national anti-doping agencies are non-compliant with the WADA Code may be barred from all international tournaments, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.