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Russia vows to comply fully with WADA investigation

Europe
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Moscow (dpa) - Russia‘s Sport Ministry vowed to comply fully with the World Anti-Doping Agency‘s investigation into alleged widespread abuse of performance-enhancing drugs by Russian athletes, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

The ministry said it supports the WADA‘s investigation, but doping allegations should be made against individual athletes, not the country in general, according to the report.

"Clean athletes who have spent years training honestly and observing all the rules and regulations, including against doping, should not lose their right to participate in competitions," the ministry was quoted as saying.

Russia was suspended from international competition in November after a damning report on doping by the WADA.

Russia Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, writing this week in Britain‘s Sunday Times, said doping was a "global problem" and a ban on Russia for the Olympic Games in Rio in August would punish clean athletes.

"We do not deny having a problem in Russia, and we are doing everything possible at state level to eradicate doping, including punishing athletes and coaches found to have violated anti-doping rules," Mutko wrote.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that US federal authorities were investigating allegations of state-led doping by top Russian athletes, on grounds of fraud and conspiracy.

The US investigation is reportedly being conducted by the office of the US attorney for New York‘s Eastern District, the same prosecutors who last year indicted top officials from football governing body FIFA on corruption charges.

Among the dozens of athletes, coaches and officials targeted in the US doping probe is Grigory Rodchenkov, former chief of Russia‘s anti-doping laboratory, according to the newspaper.

In a recently published interview, he told the Times that Moscow for years had ordered him to assist Russian athletes in evading bans on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Tuesday 31 athletes have tested positive for doping in retesting of 2008 Beijing Games samples.

Disciplinary proceedings against the unidentified athletes from 12 countries and six sports have been opened, the IOC said.

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