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    No Proof Found of McLaren's Claims of Russian Athletes Doping Tests' Swap

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    A WADA report following an investigation by its Independent Commission led by Richard McLaren on the alleged use of doping by Russian athletes, accused Moscow of the existence of a state system to conceal anti-doping regulations' violations. Russia has repeatedly denied the claims.

    "The committee denies the arguments of the independent WADA expert McLaren, about the substitution of positive doping samples of Russian athletes for negative ones, at the Olympic Games in the anti-doping laboratory in Sochi, as well as the existence in Russia of some state doping program to win the maximum number of medals for Russia," an official representative of the Russian Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko has stated.

    READ MORE: Two Russian Athletes Banned for Life Over Sochi 2014 Olympics Doping

    "The investigators have questioned more than 700 athletes, coaches, medical workers of the Russian national teams living across the whole territory of Russia, employees of the All-Russian Sports Federations, the Center for Sports Training of the Russian National Teams, RUSADA and the Anti-Doping Center. But none of them have confirmed the existence of a state doping program," Petrenko said.

    Moreover, investigators gathered enough evidence to prove that World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informant Grigory Rodchenkov destroyed athletes’ doping tests, Petrenko added.

    The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had been considering every case mentioned in the McLaren report. However, the results of these probes by the international sports federations were resulting in either refusal to initiate cases against the Russian athletes or the closure the cases due to lack of evidence.

    According to the statements of ROC's first vice president Stanislav Pozdnyakov, none of the 1,000 Russian athletes mentioned in the report by Richard McLaren, has been found guilty. Thus, the information in the document can be considered of the incomplete nature or unreliable.

    READ MORE": WADA Reveals One Key Factor Behind Clearing of 95 Russian Athletes

    Rodchenkov's Case

    Petrenko has also commented on the case of the World Anti-Doping Agency informer, Grigory Rodchenkov, saying that if there were any violations of the anti-doping rules in the country, they were "purely individual."

    Rodchenkov became a key figure in the scandal, which led to the suspension of part of the Russian team from participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In May 2016, the New York Times published an article on alleged doping in Russian sports, in which Rodchenkov claimed that at least 15 athletes from Russia who won medals at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi were a part of the alleged state "doping program."

    READ MORE: Year in Review: Russian Athletes Showing Strength Despite Doping Accusations

    "The actions of Rodchenkov, as well as of former head of the Doping Control Department of Timofei Sobolevsky and other individuals, show attempts to obstruct a comprehensive, full, objective investigation of the criminal case, which in world practice and in accordance with Russian legislation is a criminally punishable act," Petrenko said.

    The investigators have revealed that Rodchenkov and Sobolevsky, who are in the United States and collaborating with the head of the independent WADA commission had repeatedly called the former anti-doping center head Marina Dikunets and offered her on behalf of McLaren to transfer the database of primary results of testing athletes in exchange for compensation, asylum in the US or Canada, as well as the citizenship of one of these countries. According to the investigators, these databases have been seized and are at the disposal of the investigation.

    Petrenko has stated that "this circumstance is not at all in favor of the hasty and contradictory conclusions of WADA and McLaren," stressing that since Dikunets voluntarily informed the investigators about the proposals, all her negotiations with Rodchenkov and Sobolevsky were recorded and are at the disposal of the investigation.

    McLaren Report

    In 2016, Richard McLaren, the head of WADA's independent commission, presented a two-part report on anti-doping violations in Russia, which alleged the existence of a state-supported doping system. Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly denied these accusations, while admitting that Russian sports did have some doping-related issues.

    According to the Kremlin, though Russia considers doping in sports to be unacceptable, it disagrees with some parts of McLaren's report. As a letter, the autenticity of which hasn't been confirmed, leaked by Fancy Bears hacker group has revealed,  the International Olympics Committee (IOC) requested McLaren to provide proof to support the allegations he made in his report claiming that Russian officials were allegedly involved in a state-sponsored doping program.

    READ MORE: Russian Athletes Say Doping Accusations in Second McLaren Report Lack Evidence

    As a result of McLaren's report, the entire team of Russian Paralympian athletes was banned from Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and was banned from the qualifying events for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea. In December, the International Olympic Committee is expected to decide on whether Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

    Tags:
    doping scandal, doping, Russian Investigative Committee
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