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Russia digs deep into doping denial

2016-12-09 18:49
Doping samples (Getty Images)

Paris - The McLaren report on doping in Russia again left international division - Russia still denying there is any state involvement, while the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) called the findings "astonishing".

No-one gave a sign that Russia is moving back toward full membership of the global sports community after Richard McLaren's investigation for the World Anti-Doping Agency said there was an "institutional conspiracy" to produce a Russian medal winning machine.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it would re-analyse all 254 samples it has from Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Athletics governing body said it had discovered three new failed tests by Russian athletes from the 2007 world championships in Osaka, Japan.

The IOC this week extended sanctions against Russia while the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) recently renewed its suspension of the country.

"The Russian sports ministry with full responsibility states there are no government programmes to support doping in sport," it said in a statement in response to the McLaren report conclusion that more than 1 000 Russian athletes took part in officially-orchestrated doping.

The ministry added that it "will continue the fight against doping with zero tolerance" and "carefully study the information contained in the report with the aim of coming up with a constructive position".

Moscow has steadfastly denied any government backing for doping. But it has struggled to lift international doubts.

The IOC has two disciplinary inquiries into Russian sport and doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Following the McLaren report, the IOC said it had extended the second inquiry to cover the 2012 London Olympics.

The IPC, which banned Russia completely from the Rio Paralympics in September, kept up its hardline stance.

"The full findings of the report are unprecedented and astonishing. They strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport," it said in a statement.

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) said it was "deeply concerned" to read that some of the intelligence service tactics used to swap samples at the Sochi Olympics were tested at the world university games in Kazan in 2013.

The IAAF made no comment on the report but said that 53 percent of the elite Russian athletes reported to the track and field governing body by McLaren had been sanctioned or face disciplinary proceedings.

It said that samples from Russian athletes at world championships up to the 2013 event in Moscow were being retested. On top of the three new failures from Osaka, results from the 2011 championships in Daegu, South Korea are due next week.

UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, called the McLaren report "hugely significant for sport".

"2016 has also shown that whilst athletes are held to account under the World Anti-Doping Code every day of the year, when it comes to a country demonstrating a disregard for the rules, the same sort of sanctions do not apply," Sapstead said in a veiled criticism of the handling of the Russia case.

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