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Russia rejects calls for Olympic ban over doping

Europe
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Moscow (dpa) - Russia has criticised as politically motivated an attempt by US and Canada‘s anti-doping agencies to obtain its complete exclusion from the Olympics over doping.

Dmitry Svishchev, chairman of the Russian parliamentary committee on sports, compared the calls to economic sanctions in the Ukraine crisis "imposed on us because of unconfirmed facts."

He added: "Doping is just an excuse to outdo competitors. The instigators are probably the USA."

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has described accusations of systematic doping in Russia as "groundless."

Mutko was quoted a saying by Interfax news agency other countries also had doping problems, and in the United States "seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong doped and no one established a committee to exclude a country."

The comments come ahead of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report to be published Monday on alleged manipulation of Russian doping samples at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Chief investigator Richard McLaren was appointed by WADA in May to report on allegations made by Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the WADA-accredited Moscow laboratory, who claimed he had covered up positive doping samples from Russian athletes in Sochi with the aid of the national security services.

Russia has denied the allegations that 15 of its medallists in Sochi were doped.

The New York Times said Saturday at least 10 national anti-doping organizations, including the United States and Canada, and more than 20 athlete groups representing Olympians from around the world are preparing to request that the International Olympic Committee ban Russia from the Olympics if the report validates Rodchenkov‘s allegations.

A letter drafted by the US and Canadian anti-doping agencies calls for the IOC to then act by July 26 to ensure Russia is banned from the August 5-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Athetics ruling body IAAF has suspended Russia‘s track and field team from the Olympics after a separate investigation.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is expected to rule on Thursday on the eligibility of 68 Russian athletes who have appealed to compete in Rio.

On Saturday, Mutko said the WADA report "is an option to influence" CAS, Tass news agency reported.

"We are all looking forward to the report," he said. "We understand what will be in it. Attempts to accuse the country of systematic approach to doping are groundless."

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