Putin orders probe into Russian athletes doping claims

Moscow, Nov 12 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into claims that the nation’s athletes have been part of a systematic doping programme.

Putin’s action followed the release on Monday of the findings of the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The Russian president said he wanted “professional co-operation” with anti-doping bodies.

“The battle must be open. A sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest,” Putin was quoted as saying by BBC on Wednesday.

Putin stressed that he wants the sports minister and other colleagues to pay serious attention to the issue.

“I ask the minister of sport and all our colleagues who are linked in one way or another with sport to pay this issue the greatest possible attention,” he said.

“It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and — I want to underline — provide the most open professional co-operation with international anti-doping structures.”

President of the athletics’ governing body (IAAF), Lord Sebastian Coe, has said that the Russian athletics federation needs to come up with an answer by Friday.

Dick Pound, chairperson of the WADA independent commission, wants Russian athletes to be banned from the 2016 Olympics but International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that his organisation had “no authority” to take such action, and the matter was solely for the IAAF to deal with.

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