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McLaren backs whistleblower Rodchenkov’s claims on alleged doping abuse in Russia

The head of the WADA Independent Commission Richard McLaren said there were no grounds not to trust Grigory Rodchenkov

LAUSANNE, March 13. /TASS/. Richard McLaren, the head of the WADA Independent Commission, said on Monday he had no reasons not to trust the testimony of Grigory Rodchenkov, a former head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory, regarding allegedly widespread doping abuse in Russian sports.

Addressing on Monday the annual WADA Symposium, held in Lausanne on March 13-15, McLaren said there were no grounds at all not to trust Rodchenkov, whose testimony laid the basis for the now-infamous McLaren report.

Last June, the Russian Investigative Committee launched a probe into a number of officials, who held managing posts with the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) between 2009 and 2013, on charges of official misconduct. The Russian investigative bodies also launched a separate probe against Rodchenkov.

The probes followed the suspension of the whole Russian track and field team from the all international events, including the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, following findings delivered in a WADA Independent Commission’s report led by McLaren.

The WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor McLaren, delivered two parts of its report last year, namely in July and in December, on the alleged doping abuse and manipulations by Russian athletes and officials.

Among the findings mentioned in the McLaren report were allegations that bottles containing the doping samples were tampered with, including during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The report claimed that some of the bottles had scratches, which meant they were previously opened and tainted samples were allegedly replaced with clean urine.

The WADA Independent Commission decided to launch its investigation last year following media reports based on testimony from Rodchenkov.

Rodchenkov told Western media in the spring of 2016 that Russian athletes largely used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval of the national sports authorities.

On the whole, the ex-doping official claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

Following Rodchenkov’s allegations and McLaren’s report, the IOC ordered a re-test of doping samples collected at the 2014 Olympics and the Russian Investigative Committee launched its own probe into statements made by Rodchenkov.