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WADA chief backs 'clean' Russian athletes at 2018 Winter Olympics

IANS logoIANS 14-03-2017

"I am a sports official. I played the sport. I do not want people to be denied the opportunity to play sport," Reedie said in an interview with Tass news agency.

"But as far as the Olympic Games are concerned, and particularly after the two and a half years that I have gone through, not personally, but the world of sport has gone through, I will be quite relaxed with the Russian team in PyeongChang on one condition. And that is that every athlete on the Russian team go through proper, robust, efficient anti-doping test programme," Reedie added.

The next Winter Olympics, which are XXIII Winter Olympic Games, will take place in South Korea's PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.

Beginning last year, Russian athletes were constantly under the gun due to numerous doping abuse accusations. The WADA's Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, conducted an investigation into doping allegations in Russian sports and eventually came up with two parts to the report, the first delivered in July and the second in early December.

Following the first part of the report, which claimed systematic doping abuse and manipulations in Russian sports, the country's track and field and weightlifting teams were banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. The whole Russian Paralympic team was also barred from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

The second part of the McLaren report confirmed the findings and allegations voiced in the first part, which claimed that Russian state officials and the Federal Security Service (FSB) were involved in doping manipulations, particularly swapping the doping results at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

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