Russia Seek To See Ban Lifted; Set Up Doping Reforms

In its bid to see its international athletics ban lifted and have a chance to compete at the Rio Olympics Games, Russia has unveiled reforms to stop doping by its athletes.

According to BBC, all Russian track and field athletes intending to compete in August’s Rio Games will undergo a minimum of three independent anti-doping controls.

These will be carried out by the sport’s governing body, the IAAF, in addition to existing anti-doping steps.

It was reported that two independent international experts will also be granted full access to the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) in Moscow from the end of April.

The experts – nominated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) – will be tasked with ensuring the Russian anti-doping system is free of any interference, and is fully independent.

“Russia is implementing all necessary reforms,” said Russia’s Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko.

“We are 100% supportive of Wada’s efforts, alongside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IAAF, to stamp out cheating.”

Russia’s athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF in November last year after being accused of “state-sponsored” doping.

According to a Wada commission report, the country’s security services were involved in the large-scale doping programme.

Rusada – and its Moscow laboratory – were both found non-compliant with international anti-doping standards and lost their accreditation.

Last month, the IAAF said Russia had made “considerable progress” but there was “significant work to be done”.

Russia will find out in May whether it can send athletes to the Olympic Games.

Senior Rusada management were replaced in December as the agency tried to convince the world it could be revamped.

Now, an independent supervisory board, which met for the first time last week, has agreed the new measures.

“The first meeting of the board and the presence of these independent experts are a key part of this road map,” Mutko said.

“Clean athletes’ dreams must not be allowed to be destroyed because of other people’s mistakes. This is an important step.”

In recent months, UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) has taken control of drug-testing in Russia while Rusada remains non-compliant with Wada’s code.

“We are urgently working to ensure that sport in Russia is clean and fair,” Natalia Zhelanova, the Russian government’s anti-doping adviser, told the BBC.

“We very much hope that this effort will be recognised by the IAAF and by the international sports community as a whole, so that Russian athletes can compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We understand that we have to regain the international community’s trust. We have nothing to hide. We are being totally transparent and I am confident we can get to a position where Russian sport is trusted once again.”

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