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Russia Will Not Accept Findings Of Doping Report

Russian officials have remarked that they will never accept a demand from the World Anti-Doping Agency that they acknowledge that the Russian state oversaw a mass sports doping operation and cover-up.

WADA had earlier remarked that acceptance of the charge of state-sponsored doping by WADA investigator Richard McLaren is one of its conditions for the complete reinstatement of RUSADA, the anti-doping agency of Russia. Richard McLaren had claimed that, among other things, the Russian Sports Ministry was responsible for deciding which athletes should be "saved" by covering up failed drug tests. It was also claimed that the Russian Sports Ministry oversaw a plan to swap samples containing banned substances at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko remarked there was no state program and there cannot be one. Mutko added this did not happen in Russia and also commented that Russia will not admit something that did not happen.

Vitaly Smirnov, who heads a Russian anti-doping commission, remarked we have repeatedly said that the McLaren report contains certain contentious positions and provisions. Smirnov added no one is undoubtedly going to accept this report. The Russian anti-doping commission head also said it is not possible to accept a requirement of WADA that stipulates that the Russian law enforcement stop sealing off a store of urine samples in former drug-testing laboratory of Moscow. Smirnov said there is no way we can speed up this process.

Till now, the Russian Investigative Committee has been concentrating on former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov. The former anti-doping chief has been labeled as an immoral and unreliable figure who coerced otherwise clean athletes into taking banned performance enhancing drugs.

The dispute over the demands of WADA has prevented the full reinstatement of the Russian drug-testing agency. In the recent past, the World Anti-Doping Agency had partially restored some authority to the anti-doping agency of Russia by giving it significant independence, including the authority to coordinate drug testing. However, refusal of Russia to accede to demands of the World Anti-Doping Agency is presently blocking the reinstatement of track-and-field team of the country that has been suspended from international competition for nearly two years. The reinstatement of RUSADA is a must before Russia can make a full return to track and field.

In contrast to the other Russian officials, Russian Athletics Federation President Dmitry Shlyakhtin acknowledged the need to say 'stop' to doping and corruption in Russia. Shlyakhtin said he now appreciates whistleblowers like Yulia Stepanova and her husband despite the ambiguity of perception of them in Russia. The Russian Athletics Federation President said he is personally ready for a dialogue with Stepanova, Andrei Dmitriev, and other whistleblowers and would be happy to extend his support to them. Shlyakhtin said we are convinced that along with testing, whistleblowers are now one of the effective sources of information on violations, and this is very important. Shlyakhtin went on to render a public apology and said he would like to apologize to all athletes who have had gold and silver medals snatched from them at competitions. The Russian athletics boss said the ban on Russia was "correct" and also commented that he can assure all that his new team will fight doping and what happened will never happen again.

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Albert Wolfgang
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