Russia has serious problem of athletics doping issue

Sochi, Dec 28 (IANS) Former director general of Russia’s anti-doping agency Ramil Khabriev has admitted that his country has “a serious problem” in doping, adding that 40 percent of its drug-test violations have come in youth sports.

Russia was suspended from international athletics over doping, and must reform in order to return for the Olympics. Recently, four Russian weightlifters were suspended after failing drugs tests at the World Championships.

“In Russia, the doping issue is acute, we can’t deny it,” Khabriev, who left his post at Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) earlier this month, was quoted as saying by BBC on Sunday.

“We have the most violations in anti-doping rules in comparison with other countries. This, of course, shows there’s a serious problem. Around 40 percent of these violations are from youth sports, which is alarming.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) voted to suspend Russia’s athletics federation in November. That followed the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that alleged “state-sponsored doping”.

An IAAF task force is set to visit Russia in early January to check on progress towards complying with anti-doping regulations.

Since November’s World Championships, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has provisionally banned 17 athletes, four of whom were Russian — including men’s 105 kg world champion Aleksey Lovchev.

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