Russia attacks UK over athletics doping scandal

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that if Russian athletes doped and weren’t caught at the 2012 Games in London, “then your system is zero and even worse than ours.”

President Putin and Minister of Sport Mutko attend a farewell ceremony for Russian athletes prior to the Olympic Games in London. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

He made the claim after a (Wada) World Anti-Doping Agency commission report said the London Olympics were “sabotaged” by Russian athletes who should have been banned from competing in the games because of previous suspicious test results.

However, an anti-doping official from the London Olympics, Jonathan Harris, has hit back and said that testing at the 2012 Games was “state of the art.”

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He added: “If these individuals had been rigorously tested in advance of the Games then these people would have not have attended the Games because they would have been under doping sanctions.” Mutko said: “We’re hearing that medals won by our athletes in London must be taken away. But it’s the British system of doping control that operated there.”

And he told Russian news agency Interfax: “It was Britain’s anti-doping organisation under the leadership of the International Olympic Committee. Each medal winner was tested for doping and received their medal only after having tested negative.”

The Wada independent commission chairman Dick Pound said the All-Russia Athletics Federation (Araf) should be banned from international competition when he made his address on Monday to accompany the publication of the report.

It added that five Russian athletes and five coaches should be given life bans.

Following its publication, the International Olympic Committee demanded that Russian athletes accused of doping have disciplinary proceedings brought against them, raising the prospect of sanctions and the stripping of medals.

Mikhail Butov, the general-secretary of the country’s athletics federation, said yesterday that Russian athletics knows it has a “problem with doping”, but an Olympic ban would punish its clean athletes.

He said work was under way to “change the mentality of coaches in the regions”, adding that “isolation of any federation is not a good way”.

Butov said: “We know our problem. We now have a problem with doping. We should be against any limitation of participation at the highest level of competitions.

“We are sure we have absolutely clean athletes.”

He added that such a decision would be “against our team and the clean athletes, but not problem athletes”.