Russian Olympic Committee creates new anti-doping commission

President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov. © Evgeny Biyatov
ROC President Aleksandr Zhukov has announced the creation of a public anti-doping commission. The group will be headed by Vitaly Smirnov, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Zhukov stated on Monday.

Smirnov previously served as the minister of sport of the Russian Federation from 1981 to 1990 and was a full member of the IOC from 1971 to 2015.

The news follows President Vladimir Putin's order for his country's officials to liaise with the IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Russia's Olympic Committee to create the commission.

READ MORE: Putin calls for independent commission with foreign experts to handle Russian doping issue

The IOC’s decision not to impose a blanket ban forbidding all of Russia’s athletes from competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio has been welcomed by the Russian authorities as the fight against the doping crisis continues.

“I believe that it’s rather a balanced decision. As you know, WADA demanded the entire Russian Olympic team to be suspended and boarded from the Olympics. But the Executive Board of International Olympic Committee decided that clean Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. But to that end, a number of steps must be queued out, a number of requirements must be met,” said Zhukov, talking to RT.

“At the same time these are very serious requirements and conditions regarding athletes from Russia. For example, athletes from other countries with a doping record have not been banned from the Olympics, while Russian athletes with previous records have been effectively banned from the Games,” he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "We believe that this is a positive decision, and we regard it positively.

Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov. © Vitaliy Belousov

"We definitely welcome the ultimate solution, which allows so-called 'clean' athletes to take part in the Olympics after an endorsement from international federations.”

Peskov admitted that closer cooperation with the IOC and other international sports organizations was needed, and he hoped the new commission would help tackle the issues faced by Russian sport.

WADA had said it was "disappointed" with the IOC's decision to allow Russian athletes to compete in Rio and reiterated its recommendation that a blanket ban should have been implemented.

READ MORE: WADA ‘disappointed’ by IOC refusal to ban Russia from Olympics

While the commission will initially be focused on issues involving athletes competing in summer sports, it will also be faced with monitoring the latest developments in ice hockey.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) confirmed on Monday it will ask for the identities of the 14 Russian players mentioned in Richard McLaren's WADA report as having used banned performance-enhancing substances at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

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