November 15, 2017 / 7:43 AM / a year ago

Russia has done 'everything possible' for RUSADA reinstatement: minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Wednesday the country has done everything in its power to have its anti-doping agency (RUSADA) reinstated after it was suspended over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

FILE PHOTO: Pavel Kolobkov, Minister of Sport of Russia addresses the Symposium of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) in Ecublens, Switzerland, March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

RUSADA has been suspended since a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report in 2015 found evidence of state-sponsored doping and accused it of enabling rather than catching drug cheats.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli told Reuters last week Russia’s refusal to accept responsibility could prevent its athletes from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

WADA, which allowed RUSADA to plan and coordinate testing under international supervision in June, is set to address the agency’s compliance with international standards at its executive committee and Foundation Board meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We really have done everything possible for RUSADA to retrieve its status,” R-Sport news agency quoted Kolobkov as saying.

“Now our colleagues need to evaluate this and make a decision in line with the interests of the entire sports movement. In any case we are continuing our work to clear the name of Russian sport.”

One of the conditions for RUSADA’s reinstatement requires Russian authorities, including the Ministry of Sport and National Olympic Committee, to publicly accept the findings of the McLaren investigation.

A 2016 report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a five-year period.

WADA said last week that it had obtained a database that confirmed allegations of widespread state-sponsored doping in Russia made in the McLaren report.

Despite repeated calls for cooperation with international bodies to help rid Russia of doping, the authorities have never acknowledged any state involvement in the scandal.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned six cross-country skiers this month as part of an investigation into allegations of doping among Russians and sample-tampering by laboratory and security officials at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The IOC has said it would decide at its executive board meeting next month on the participation of Russian competitors at Pyeongchang.

Russia escaped a blanket ban at the 2016 Rio Olympics but it remains barred from competing at international athletics events.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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