Continuing a line of argument that began with Professor Richard McLarens first doping report, Russian officials have rejected the accusations and said the report was politicised
If international sport officials were expecting an apology from Russia after the latest findings of its state-sponsored doping at the London Olympics and other events, the latter are disappointed. Continuing a line of argument that began after the first allegations of Russian widespread performance improving drug use in 2014, officials in Moscow rejected the accusations and said the report was politicised. One MP even called on the US president-elect, Donald Trump, who has spoken favourably of Russia, to stop the investigations.
The World Anti-Doping Agency report by the Canadian law professor Richard McLaren found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes, including challengers at the London and Sochi Olympics, benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015.
The sport ministry with all conviction can declare the absence of government programmes to support doping in sport, the Russian ministry said in a statement. The athletic ministry is continuing the battle with doping from a position of zero tolerance.
Mikhail Degtaryov, head of the athletic committee in parliament, called the report biased and questioned why it hadnt investigated other countries. There was an order to assault our athletes. It was carried out in great detail, Degtaryov told. Then lets investigate the US, British and Canadian teams. I suppose a lot of interesting things would be presented to the world if investigations were conducted.
The MP Igor Lebedev told R-Sport that he was hoping Trump, who has praised Putin and talked of cooperating with Russia, would objective the doping investigations. It was expected that there wouldnt be any evidence, there would be yet another stream of falsities, groundless accusations, Lebedev told. All this has a strong political undercurrent and we and all Russians hope that our beloved Mr Trump will put an end to this.
Putins spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state news agency RIA Novosti that the Kremlin was still studying the findings.
State media coverage painted the McLaren report as biased. Match TV host Alexei Popov described it as bully and an attack on Russian athletes. At a roundtable of former athletes and officials, only Alexander Tikhonov, a four-times gold medallist in biathlon, indicated Russia could be guilty, accusing the former chairwoman Dmitry Medvedev of not taking action on a 2010 warning from the International Olympic Committee about doping. Instead of taking concrete measures, we didnt do almost anything for 20 years, he said.
But many officials suggested the findings were made-up. The wrestling federation head, Mikhail Mamiashvili, called the report a maniacal try going on to prove something that doesnt exist. The luge federation president, Natalia Gart, said: All these accusations arent based on any evidence.
A cartoon published by RIA Novosti captured the overall mood: it depicted McLaren menacingly waving his hands as he depicts a Russian intelligence agent descending on cables, Mission: Impossible-style, into a room full of urine samples.
The MP Dmitry Svishchev, a member of the athletic committee, told: I suppose the report has smashed to pieces all the logic and hypothesi of a universal doping conspiracy in Russia and government support for doping. There arent any facts.
The double Olympic gold medal-winning pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who emerged as an unofficial spokeswoman for Russian athletics when the team was banned from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer, said Russia must win back the trust of the international community and rebuild its anti-doping agency, although we are criticising the report. Its easy to accuse if you generalise and set everyone in one mass, she told Match TV. But if we are calling for concrete evidence against specific athletes, I doubt that they will give it to us.
A key concern remains the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as many officials have called the doping investigations an attempt to move the event. The former Olympic judoka Dmitry Nosov said: The main task for every citizen and especially athletics officials is to not allow them to take away our World Cup, as well as the[ 2019] Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk. This report is another step against this event.
In separate remarks, the former Russian Olympic Committee head Leonid Tyagachyov alerted the findings is generating problems with our participation in the Olympics in PyeongChang, the South Korean venue for the 2018 Winter Games.
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