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No State Doping Program In Russia, Says Ministry

The Russian Sports Ministry has remarked it will be thoroughly examining the information presented in the latest McLaren report on alleged doping by Russian athletes.

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The Sports Ministry denied allegations of McLaren that athletes of Russia were the beneficiaries of a state-sponsored doping system operating in Russia. The Ministry added it is eager to cooperate with international anti-doping bodies. A statement published on the ministry’s website said Russia’s Sports Ministry says with all responsibility that there is no state-run program promoting doping in sport and added it pledges to fight doping with a zero-tolerance policy.

Russia’s Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said he believes Richard McLaren used “the wrong terms” when he spoke about the doping scheme of Russia allegedly sponsored by the government. Kolobkov said McLaren said 'a state-run scheme' and this is the wrong term as there have been no schemes at all.

Kolobkov said referring to former head of Moscow anti-doping lab Grigory Rodchenkov who allegedly ran a massive doping ring that Russia’s law enforcement agencies are investigating certain violations and even crimes, carried out in particular by Rodchenkov and his possible accomplices. The former anti-doping chief destroyed thousands of Russian athletes' doping control samples and was the single named source in the McLaren report. The minister said it would be great if the World Anti-Doping Agency probed into doping violations in other countries as vigorously as they do in Russia.

Kolobkov added it is good to hear that McLaren took notice of our initiatives aimed at cleaning Russian sport of doping. The minister added he must say we are doing this not under their pressure but because we are interested in clean sport more than others.

The ministry statement further reads that Russia’s relevant authorities are investigating all of the circumstances listed in the first part of McLaren report, and the Sports Ministry will advise those authorities to carry out a similarly thorough investigation of what has been said in the second part.

The head of Russia’s Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission, Vitaly Smirnov said he is personally convinced there is no system of manipulations and violations organized or supported by the government, and there cannot be one and added it goes against everything that is being done in Russia. The ROC’s first vice-president, Stanislav Pozdnyakov remarked athletes should simply keep on getting ready for PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games along with their coaches, following their comprehensive, target-oriented programs. Pozdnyakov added we have not actually heard anything new and shouldn’t lose our temper and remarked we should systematically fight against doping in our country. Pozdnyakov said he sees it as the only way to deal with the problem.

Yelena Isinbayeva, who is an Olympic pole vault champion and also chief of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) observing board, remarked the country will no longer accept accusations without evidence. Isinbayeva said the current task is to regain credibility and to make all WADA officials certain that we don't stay idle but do our utmost for the sake of restoring our agency.

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Albert Wolfgang
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