Moscow, May 31 (IANS) Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has taken full responsibility for a recent chain of alleged doping scandals involving national athletes and has no intention of hiding in case they prove to be true.
“I have never avoided taking the blame since I am fully responsible for the development and implementation of the sports policies,” Mutko said on Monday. “In case something goes wrong I bear the full responsibility and do not intend to go into hiding,” reports Tass.
Russian sports has been in the centre of doping-related scandals since the fall of 2014. Following a series of high-profile doping scandals involving the All Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) last year, the international athletics body suspended the Russian federation’s membership and put forward six criteria, which ARAF was obliged to implement to restore its membership.
Experts say it is highly possible that Russian athletics teams will be suspended from the Olympic Games in Rio this year following the findings from the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The WADA Independent Commission published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of the ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.
The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.
In the most recent development of events ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov has said that Russian athletes allegedly used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval from the national sports authorities.
In an interview with New York Times, published in mid-May, Rodchenkov claimed that an unnamed official from the Russian sports ministry used sending him lists of national athletes, whose doping samples he had to substitute during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Rodchenkov also said that he developed a special cocktail consisting of three banned doping substances intended for the national athletes at home Games two years ago.
On the whole, the ex-doping official claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Rodchenkov added that some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances.
Following the publication of the US daily, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requested the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to initiate an investigation into allegations that testing at the Sochi Laboratory was subverted. The IOC also urged the Russian Olympic authorities to provide full assistance in WADA’s new probe.
The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 won medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer.