Moscow, July 10 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Sports minister Vitaly Mutko has expressed confidence that the Russian team will be free of doping scandals at the London Olympics.
Russia is sending 436 athletes to the Games, and despite the country’s apparent inability to vanquish its doping problems entirely, Mutko insisted the Russians would leave London untarnished.
“The whole team will pass the doping control 100 percent, and more than once, even those athletes who have been abroad,” Mutko said. “We can be relaxed about the team.”
Mutko said that specialists within the Russian team “are sure that we won’t have any problems, as there were none at the last two Olympics.”
Russia indeed suffered no doping issues at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but two years previously the country had seven top runners disqualified just a week ahead of Beijing Summer Games for tampering with their samples.
And earlier this month, the Russian Athletics Federation announced it had issued two-year bans to three runners including Svetlana Klyuka, who came fourth in the Beijing 800 meters, over anomalies in their biological passport data.
Mutko noted that “no one can ever guarantee the absence of doping, the athletes himself decide for himself to do it or not.”
But he painted a positive picture of the future.
“Over the last four years athletes have changed their attitudes toward doping in our country. We have changed the doping control system.”
“The new generation of athletes will be clean,” Mutko said.
The Daily News Post India (tdnpost)