Russia confident of avoiding Pyeongchang 2018 ban as Rodchenkov blamed for doping crisis
Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov (See headphoto) has claimed that the Government has never been involved in a system to give athletes in the country banned drugs and help them avoid being caught but that they are prepared to cooperate fully with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) following the publication yesterday of the McLaren Report.
More than 1,000 Russian athletes in summer, winter and Paralympic sports were involved in a widespread state-sponsored doping system akin to an “institutional conspiracy” Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren claimed when he published the second part of his report in London.
Zhukov, like most observers in Russia, has dismissed the findings of the Report.
“No system of state support for doping in Russia has ever existed or exists,” he told Russia’s official news agency TASS.
“Considering any concrete facts, they should be studied more thoroughly.”
Photo: Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren alleged at the publication of his Report in London yesterday that there was an “institutional conspiracy” of state-sponsored doping in Russia ©Getty Images
Zhukov claimed that any doubts about the current system in Russia are unfounded because it is now being overseen by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD).
He believes that this means Russia should not be punished by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by being banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
“We are open for cooperation with all international organisations, both with WADA and with IOC,” said Zhukov.
“We have amended our laws and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is now absolutely independent.
“From the point of view of financing the organisation, it has even increased.
“We have made a special provision in the budget.
“Everything has been done to enhance anti-doping efforts.
“McLaren noted that Russia did a lot, which he assessed positively.
“We are talking about changing legislation, stepping up fight against doping.
“In fact, our position is the irreconcilable struggle against doping, and we are doing everything we can for this.
“We introduced criminal responsibility for forcing someone to take doping.
“McLaren was asked this question [about allowing Russians to compete at Pyeongchang 2018].
“He said that this is not his competence, this is the issue of International Olympic Committee and International Federations.
“This requires additional analysis and inspections.
“I can confirm – we are open, even foreigners work at the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
“The Russian anti-doping system should be restored in full volume, the rights of RUSADA should be restored, and the laboratory should be restored as soon as possible so it can work efficiently.
“Foreigners are now taking tests, checks have been completed abroad for over a year. If someone doubts the quality of our athletes’ tests, this is now the question exclusively for UK Anti-Doping and for foreign doping officers.
“This system is now functioning externally,”
Photo: Former Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov was behind the scheme to dope Russian athletes in the build-up to London 2012 and Sochi 2014, claim Government officials, who deny involvement themselves ©Facebook
Meanwhile, Russia’s new Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov claimed that Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, was to blame for the scandal.
Photo: Russia’s new Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov. See his merits at fencing/épée.
McLaren alleged that Rodchenkov had developed a cocktail of drugs to help Russian athletes prepare for the Olympics and Paralympics at London 2012 and Sochi 2014 and a scheme to help them avoid detection.
“Russian law enforcement agencies are dealing with certain violations, or in my view, even crimes committed, in particular, by Mr Rodchenkov and his possible accomplices,” Kolobkov, a five-time Olympic fencing medallist, including a gold at Sydney 2000, told TASS.
“It could be great if other states investigate anti-doping violations as steadfastly as we do.
“On the other hand, it is pleasant that Mr McLaren has noticed our efforts to clear Russian sport from doping.
“I would like to emphasise that we do not do it under pressure since we are the most motivated side to have sport clean.”
Source: insidethegames and Anti-Doping World