Friday, 15 December, 2017

Russian PM Insists Doping Not State Backed

Getty Images Getty Images
Howard Terry | 08 December, 2017, 01:14

A woman waves a Russian flag outside of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in front of the Olympic Rings prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017.

In his first comments since the ban, Putin took aim at Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory whose allegations of state-sponsored doping and a cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics triggered investigations that ultimately led to the International Olympic Committee decision.

He did not budge on Russia's insistence that there was no state-sponsored doping system in the country.

"Medvedev's comments came a month after Putin suggested that doping bans against some Russian athletes who competed at the 2014 Sochi Games were an attempt to sow discontent ahead of next year's presidential elections. (Doping control officers) can show up any time and take a sample", R-Sport news agency quoted Mutko as saying.

Putin said that Russian Federation bore a share of blame for the IOC decision for having given worldwide Olympic authorities a pretext for banning the country.

When the then sports minister was barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics over doping charges, he not only survived, but was promoted to deputy prime minister. It is yet unclear who will bear the expenses related to the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He said such reprimands were not a priority.

The IOC on Tuesday banned Russia from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after evidence emerged of "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system but left the door open for some Russians to compete as neutrals if they demonstrate they have a doping-free background.

Russian authorities have never acknowledged the state's alleged role in the scandal but have pledged to work with global sports bodies to help curb the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the country.

But a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last year found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in over 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to hide positive drug tests over a period of five years.

In the weeks before the IOC decision, more than 20 Russian athletes who competed at the Sochi Games were handed Olympic life bans for alleged doping offences.

Russia's athletics federation and Paralympic Committee remain suspended from worldwide competition over doping scandals, along with its anti-doping agency, RUSADA.

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