Mutko says Russia to double anti-doping tests as Lebedeva to appeal
Olympics - 13 Feb 2017
Russia will double the number of anti-doping tests conducted this year, compared with last year, according to Vitaly Mutko, the country’s outspoken and controversial deputy prime minister who has previously been critical of the number of tests conducted since RUSADA, Russia’s anti-doping agency, was suspended and the country’s anti-doping system came under the temporary supervision of UK Anti-Doping.
The Russian sports ministry will provide the conditions for an average of 6,000 tests to be conducted this year, compared to 3,000 last year, Mutko said, adding: “We have a contract with UKAD regarding the collection of doping samples - last year over 3,000 samples were handled. They [UKAD] will soon publish another report, which contains data about approximately 10 issued suspensions.
“This year, the Sports Ministry intends to provide conditions for the collection of 6,000 doping samples in order to tighten control over abuse of performance enhancing drugs.”
Last month Mutko threatened to sack UKAD after David Kenworthy, UKAD's chairman, called for Russian athletes to be banned from competing in the 2018 winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang because of Russia’s unwillingness to accept allegations of a state-supported doping system in the country.
Mutko said: “It was striking to me. We will have several meetings on the issue. We pay huge money to the United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency. They have been supervising us for a year and did not detect any special programmes during the year. I am simply surprised. As of today, we pay them money and actually we can raise a question whether we should cancel the deal and switch over to another organisation. If they do not believe in us, than why should it supervise us?”
In an interview with the BBC, Kenworthy had said: “I think they [Russia] should [be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics]. They should have been banned from the  Olympics in the summer. The International Paralympic Committee, in my view, got it right - they banned Russia. I think the IOC made a complete muck-up of it.”
The IPC imposed a blanket ban on Russian athletes from competing in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, but the IOC handed over to the international federations the responsibility for deciding which athletes were eligible to compete in the preceding Olympics, with the result that about 270 athletes were cleared to compete.
Meanwhile, Jan Dijkema, the recently-elected president of the International Skating Union, has declined to comment on whether Russian athletes should compete in PyeongChang, saying that the decision is up to the International Olympic Committee, which has set up two commissions to investigate Russian doping.
Dijkema said: “We have the IOC investigation at this moment and we're waiting for the results. If the skaters are involved [in doping], then of course, the ISU is involved; but not regarding the participation itself of the games. The decision is up to the IOC.”
Last month, Sam Auxier, president of US Figure Skating, said that Russian athletes should not be allowed to compete, while the ISU has itself relocated the final ISU World Cup Speed Skating of the current season from Russia’s Chelyabinsk to Stavanger, Norway after the IOC recommended that federations should halt preparations for hosting major events in Russia.
• Tatiana Lebedeva, the Russian long jumper and triple jumper, has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne over a decision last month by the IOC to strip her of the two silver medals she won at the 2008 Olympic Games, after re-tests of samples she gave at the games tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Lebedeva told TASS: “I have filed all the necessary documents and submitted an appeal with CAS.”
Last month Lebedeva resigned from her position on the executive committee of the World Olympians Association, following the IOC’s decision.
The WOA, which has called for automatic exclusion from the next Olympic Games and major championships for athletes found guilty of doping, and for life bans for those found guilty of organising and administrating systematic cheating, said that it would discuss imposing its own sanctions on Lebedeva.
Lebedeva has previously accused the World Anti-Doping Agency of trying to manipulate the Olympics, calling it a tool of “the Anglo-Saxon lobby.”
Lebedeva’s punishment was imposed after targeted re-tests, using new analysis, of samples provided at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Lebedeva, who is now retired as an athlete, was elected to the Russian Senate last year.