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Russia Promises Anti-doping Agency Full Access to Its Athletes

  • VOA News

FILE - Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 16, 2016. "If you need any assistance from the government, just say so," Mutko said, offering assurances of unobstructed access to Russian athletes by doping control officers.

FILE - Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 16, 2016. "If you need any assistance from the government, just say so," Mutko said, offering assurances of unobstructed access to Russian athletes by doping control officers.

Russia will give the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) full access to test Russian athletes for banned performance-enhancing substances, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Thursday.

Mutko made the statement to reporters after WADA issued its latest report in which it concluded that Russian athletes continued to fail drug tests and obstruct doping control officers.

"If you need any assistance from the government, just say so,” Mutko said. "Don't wait until the last minute... We will do anything we can for [WADA] officers to be able to visit any city,” he said.

The Kremlin, however, called the new report into question. "I do not know what these assertions are based on. They need to be thoroughly analyzed by our sport experts," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

WADA’s findings are the latest in a series of unfavorable reports for Russia which is trying to overturn an international ban on its track and field athletes that could prevent them - and perhaps the entire Russian Olympic team — from participating in the Rio Olympics in August.

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe has said the ban will only be lifted if there is clear evidence of a "verifiable change both in anti-doping practice and culture."

While Friday's IAAF meeting in Vienna is set to decide whether Moscow has done enough to have the Russian athletics team readmitted in time for the Rio Games, Mutko insisted that all reforms demanded by the world body have been carried out.

The IAAF suspended Russia from competition in November after a WADA report detailed systematic doping among Russian athletes and corruption among Russian sports officials.

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