Rus­sia has been crit­i­cal of WADA

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

— “It’s im­pos­si­ble to agree with (the re­port), be­cause the re­port con­tains a lot of dis­crep­an­cies,” Sports Min­is­ter Pavel Kolobkov said Mon­day, adding “it will be hard for us” to con­vince WADA to re­in­state the Rus­sian agency.

Ac­cept­ing McLaren’s find­ings would mean aban­don­ing a Krem­lin line, stated reg­u­larly and ve­he­mently, that Rus­sia has never had any state in­volve­ment in dop­ing.

McLaren’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion al­leged var­i­ous of­fi­cials from the Sports Min­istry over­saw a dop­ing cover-up, ve­to­ing pun­ish­ment for “pro­tected” star ath­letes. Most of the min­istry of­fi­cials named in McLaren’s re­port qui­etly re­signed or were dis­missed last year, but then-Sports Min­is­ter Vi­taly Mutko was pro­moted to deputy prime min­is­ter and con­tin­ues to over­see prepa­ra­tions for next year’s soc­cer World Cup in Rus­sia.

Rus­sian re­la­tions with the IOC have soured af­ter it started ban­ning Rus­sian ath­letes for dop­ing of­fences from the Sochi Olympics. Six have been banned so far, in­clud­ing two medal­lists, and verdicts are ex­pected within days on sev­eral more.

Still, IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach has long been sup­port­ive of Rus­sia and said this month it was “un­ac­cept­able” to de­mand a blan­ket ban for Rus­sia “be­fore due process.”

Last year, Rus­sia was vi­ciously crit­i­cal of WADA but re­mained on good terms with the IOC, which ruled out a blan­ket ban from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and passed the de­ci­sion to in­di­vid­ual sports fed­er­a­tions. Only track and field and weightlift­ing im­posed team-wide sanc­tions. This year, Rus­sia’s tone to­ward the IOC is less warm.

“Come over to my coun­try and try to take (my medals),” Rus­sian bob­sled­der and fed­eral law­maker Alexei Vo­evoda taunted IOC dis­ci­plinary panel head De­nis Oswald in Rus­sian me­dia on Mon­day.

Pre­vi­ous dop­ing whistle­blow­ers have left Rus­sia cit­ing their per­sonal safety, but only af­ter com­ing for­ward. The IOC bans have sparked a witch-hunt in Rus­sian win­ter sports, with a cross-coun­try skier and a biathlon coach both hav­ing to is­sue state­ments deny­ing they’ve worked with WADA af­ter be­ing ac­cused by for­mer col­leagues.

AP PHOTO

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