Russia says progress in anti-doping reforms unrecognized

FAN Editor
Russian Olympic Committee chief Zhukov and anti-doping commission head Smirnov attend a news conference following a meeting of the executive board of Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) chief Alexander Zhukov (R) and Vitaly Smirnov, head of the new commission created to combat doping, attend a news conference following a meeting of the executive board of Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow, Russia July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

October 12, 2017

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has made significant leaps in its anti-doping reforms but the progress is not being recognized by the international community, sports officials from the country said on Thursday.

Russia’s athletics federation, Paralympic committee and anti-doping agency (RUSADA) remain suspended after reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) alleged state-sponsored doping.

WADA in August called on Russia’s anti-doping authorities to accept publicly the findings of the WADA-commissioned McLaren investigation, which found evidence of widespread doping and manipulation of doping tests by Russian athletes and officials.

Public acceptance of the report by Russia is a condition laid down by WADA for RUSADA’S full reinstatement, but Russian authorities have always denied the state’s role in the scandal.

At a meeting of a state-backed anti-doping commission with representatives of Russian sports federations on Thursday, officials said Russia’s progress was being overlooked.

“Our international colleagues are very poorly informed about the efforts undertaken by our country in anti-doping over the last while,” said commission head Vitaly Smirnov. “Our accomplishments are silenced. This is very bad.”

Smirnov said the commission had prepared English-language brochures about Russia’s reforms in a bid to get its message out.

He urged the heads of the sports federations present — including tennis, swimming and athletics — to hand them out to foreign colleagues at international sporting events.

“Unfortunately the information (about reforms) is not reaching everyone,” the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, told the sports federations’ officials.

“This is why it’s very important for you to get this information to the international federations.”

Zhukov stressed Russia had made significant progress toward its rehabilitation on the international stage, calling WADA’s decision in June to allow RUSADA to plan and coordinate testing “a big step forward”.

He conceded, however, that Russia still had “lots to do” to be fully reinstated.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Toby Davis)

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