Over 1000 athletes allegedly involved in doping: Russia faces calls for total ban

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Paris, Dec 10: The United States and Germany led calls for Russia to be exiled from international competition after the McLaren report said doping in sport in the country represented an "institutional conspiracy".

More than 1,000 athletes in the summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics "can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive testing", said Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren.

Over 1000 athletes allegedly involved in doping: Russia faces calls for total ban

Drug test samples at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 were even manipulated by the addition of salt and coffee, said the report prepared for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

"It's another staggering example of how the Olympic movement has been corrupted and clean athletes robbed by Russia's state-supported doping system," said Travis Tygart, the head of the US anti-doping body (USADA).

"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to act and clean athletes won't be satisfied until WADA is empowered to be a truly independent global regulator and the Russian Olympic Committee is suspended until deemed code compliant.

"No international sporting events should be held in Russia until its anti-doping program is fully code compliant and all the individuals who participated in the corruption are held accountable."

The IOC this week extended sanctions against Russia while the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) recently renewed its suspension of the country. That had already seen the entire Russian track and field team banned from the Rio Olympics in the summer.

Clemens Prokop, the president of the German athletics federation (DLV), called for a total ban on all Russian competitors.

"Russian sport should be excluded from all international competitions, including the Olympic Games, until its credibility is restored," said Prokop.

"This is a fundamental attack against the Olympic movement when the values of the movement are dragged through the mud by a country. Measures taken must be up to the mark. The credibility of the IOC is at stake."

The IOC said it would re-analyse all 254 samples it has from Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Russia defiant

But Russia remained defiant. "The Russian sports ministry with full responsibility states there are no government programmes to support doping in sport," said a statement in response to the McLaren report. 

The ministry added that it "will continue the fight against doping with zero tolerance" and "carefully study the information contained in the report with the aim of coming up with a constructive position". Moscow has steadfastly denied any government backing for doping.

But it has struggled to lift international doubts. The IOC has two disciplinary inquiries into Russian sport and doping at the 2014 Olympics. Following the McLaren report, the IOC said it had extended the second inquiry to cover the 2012 London Olympics.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which banned Russia completely from the Rio Paralympics in September, called the McLaren findings "astonishing".

"The full findings of the report are unprecedented and astonishing. They strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport," it said in a statement.

The IAAF made no comment on the report but said that 53 percent of the elite Russian athletes reported to the track and field governing body by McLaren had been sanctioned or face disciplinary proceedings.

It said that samples from Russian athletes at world championships up to the 2013 event in Moscow were being retested. UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, called the McLaren report "hugely significant for sport".

"2016 has also shown that whilst athletes are held to account under the World Anti-Doping Code every day of the year, when it comes to a country demonstrating a disregard for the rules, the same sort of sanctions do not apply," Sapstead said in a veiled criticism of the handling of the Russia case.

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) said it was "deeply concerned" to read that some of the intelligence service tactics used to swap samples at the Sochi Olympics were tested at the world university games in Kazan in 2013.

AFP

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