Editor’s Note: Over the years, Russia has been involved in a number of doping scandals, including in cross-country skiing at the 2002 Olympics. With both winter and summer athletes caught in the last year, there is little sense that Russian has cleaned up sport. Putin holds immense power in the country, and his statements are noteworthy in that he may actually be able to do something. On the other hand, it is quite possible he is merely paying lip service to the problem.
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Feburary 24 that a state doping control system should be established for Russian sports and tougher penalties may be introduced for those who break the rules.
“Every provision should be made and a state [doping] control mechanism established, and we should act vigorously. If necessary, let’s also discuss moves to toughen penalties,” Putin said at a meeting of the presidential council on sports development and arrangements for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Two weeks ago three Russian biathlon racers tested positive for the Russian version of the banned substance Erythropoietin (EPO) at the Biathlon World Championship in South Korea’s Pyeongchang. The athletes were all disqualified and forced to leave the country.
“I request the Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Ministry to involve the sporting public and continue a thorough analysis of the current situation and to draw practical conclusions,” Putin said.
Last year with only several days before the opening of the 2008 Olympics in China, seven Russian women athletes were disqualified from the Games after they were ruled to have switched urine samples before tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
Source: The Moscow News