Russian athletes could be banned from 2016 Olympics after report

By Sarah Harvey

Russia's Mariya Savinova reacts as she wins gold in the women's 800m final at the London 2012 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Russia's Mariya Savinova reacts as she wins gold in the women's 800m final at the London 2012 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Russian athletes could be banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics following a report which alleges a state-sponsored doping system.

The independent report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and carried out by the organisation’s former president, Dick Pound, found a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” within Russian athletics.

Pound, speaking at a news conference on Monday, was asked if the allegations amounted to state-sponsored doping: “In the sense of consenting to it, there’s no other conclusion.”

The report says more than 1400 samples were “intentionally and maliciously” destroyed by a Moscow laboratory even after a WADA plea to preserve them.

It even suggests the London Olympics were “sabotaged” by the appearance of 24 Russian athletes who should not have been eligible, criticised the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – the sport’s governing body – and recommended five athletes and five coaches, all from Russia, be banned for life.

Among them are 2012 Olympic 800-metre champion Mariya Savinova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova.

Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director Nikita Kamaev denounced the report as “unprofessional, illogical and declarative,” according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. It’s sports minister has said Russia has done all it could to prevent doping.

WADA’s current president Craig Reedie said the report would “shock and appall athletes and sports fans worldwide.”

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