Moscow says issue of doping in Russian sport politicised

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Moscow, March 11 (IANS) Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Friday said the issue of doping in Russian sport has been “politicised”, and in recent days has caught the attention of the press around the world after many outstanding athletes have tested positive in the country.

“The situation surrounding doping has been politicised and is artificial. It is impossible to cheat. Athletes are under full control,” Efe quoted Mutko as saying at a meeting with the ministry board, consisting of an advisory body of sports personalities.

Regarding the cases of eight Russian athletes, including tennis star Maria Sharapova, who have tested positive for meldonium, which was included on January 1 on the list of banned substances, the minister noted that there could be a residual presence of the drug in the samples.

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Mutko asserted that Russian doctors argue that the effects of the drug take much longer to disappear from the body, adding that elements could remain preserved for more than 100 days, possibly in muscles.

He maintains that there is no systemic use of meldonium in Russian sport, which was developed in the 1970s in Latvia when the Baltic republic was part of the Soviet Union.

Mutko stressed the need to introduce a system of sanctions in the country against those who induce athletes to doping.

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