Putin Orders Probe After Athletics Doping Accusations

The Russian flag is raised Feb. 23, 2014, during the closing ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Ministry of Sport to cooperate with an international investigation into accusations Russian athletes doped for Olympic competitions. File photo: UPI

MOSCOW, Nov. 12 (UPI/Ed Adamczyk) — A report by the World Anti-Doping Agency, earlier this week, outlined a vast doping program throughout Russia athletics and implicated Vitaly Mutko, the minister for sport. It also said six Russian athletes with previous suspicious test results competed in London’s 2012 Summer Olympics, and recommended Russia be barred from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“If you’re accusing our athletes today, then I’m afraid [Britain’s] system is zero and worse than ours,” Mutko said Tuesday.

Richard Pound, co-author of the WADA report, said Monday he was confident Mutko was aware of the scale of Russia’s doping program, saying, “It was impossible for him not to be aware of it, and if he’s aware of it, he’s complicit in it.”

Putin ordered Mutko’s department to take the accusations seriously and correct the problem.

The WADA report was released prior to a meeting Friday of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the organizing body for world sport. Russia will likely receive a provisional suspension at that meeting, prior to a formal disciplinary hearing, which can be regarded as a first step toward a ban from the Olympics.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said his organization has no power to exclude Russia from the Olympics, noting the IAAF would make such a decision.

“The IAAF has informed us they will take the necessary measures. I am very positive that these measures will go in the right direction. That means to protect clean athletes,” he said.


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