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Count Of Doping Samples From Russian Athletes To Be Doubled

Russia has vowed to double the number of doping samples collected from national athletes to around 6,000 this year.

The drug-testing program of Russia is presently being overseen by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) after they agreed to a request when the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was last January suspended.

Anna Antselovich, the acting director general of RUSADA, earlier this month said that the cooperation with UK Anti-Doping would continue in 2017, with the organization not facing any restrictions to their work.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, the former Sports Minister, claimed that as many as 3,000 samples were handled by UK Anti-Doping in 2016 and he expects the number to double this year. Mutko remarked we have a contract with UKAD regarding the collection of doping samples - last year over 3,000 samples were handled. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister said UK Anti-Doping will soon publish another report, which contains data about approximately ten issued suspensions and added the Russian sports ministry this year intends to provide conditions for the collection of 6,000 doping samples in order to tighten control over abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

UKAD chairman David Kenworthy last month suggested that Russia should be suspended from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang amid widespread allegations of cheating. During an interview with the BBC, Kenworthy said Russia should have been completely banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The stance of Kenworthy was criticized by Mutko. The Russian Deputy PM said the Briton should have been more supportive of his country.

A few days back, it was confirmed that the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) will not be lifted before RUSADA is declared compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency. This announcement was made by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) following a report from their Task Force led by Norway’s Rune Andersen.

The Russian Athletics Federation, to be reinstated, is required to explain why in the past it has been unable to and how in the future it will be able to enforce all suspensions imposed on athletes and athlete support personnel under its jurisdiction in an effective and timely fashion. It is also required to take demonstrable objective and practical steps to cultivate the clean sport movement.

IAAF Task Force head Rune Andersen had remarked that Russia must either ""acknowledge and properly address" or "convincingly rebut" evidence in the McLaren Report that claimed the Russian Sports Ministry and security services were complicit in a state-sponsored doping program.

Under the current timetable, this is likely to happen on a provisional basis in May and on a full basis in November. It means Russians will only be able to compete as neutral athletes at the IAAF World Championships in London this August. Till now, thirty-five Russians have applied to participate under a neutral flag. More than 60 Russians are now part of the IAAF's International Registered Testing Pool to facilitate this process. However, blanket approval has been provided to all under-15 Russian athletes to compete in international competitions, such as the European Youth Olympic Festival that will be held in Györ, Hungary from July 22 to 30.

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Albert Wolfgang
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