The Russian Investigative Committee has denied McLaren’s claims that positive doping samples of Russian athletes during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi were substituted for negative ones, as well as the existence of some state doping program in Russia.
“The committee denies the arguments of the independent WADA expert McLaren, about the substitution of positive doping samples of Russian athletes for negative ones, at the Olympic Games in the anti-doping laboratory in Sochi, as well as the existence in Russia of some state doping program to win the maximum number of medals for Russia,” an official representative of the Russian Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko has stated.
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The Russian state investigative committee has questioned more than 700 people to probe the possibility of a state doping program in the country. None of them could confirm the existence of such a program.
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“The investigators have questioned more than 700 athletes, coaches, medical workers of the Russian national teams living across the whole territory of Russia, employees of the All-Russian Sports Federations, the Center for Sports Training of the Russian National Teams, RUSADA and the Anti-Doping Center. But none of them have confirmed the existence of a state doping program,” Petrenko said.
Moreover, investigators gathered enough evidence to prove that World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informant Grigory Rodchenkov destroyed athletes’ doping tests, Petrenko added.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had been considering every case mentioned in the McLaren report. However, the results of these probes by the international sports federations were resulting in either refusal to initiate cases against the Russian athletes or the closure the cases due to lack of evidence.
According to the statements of ROC’s first vice president Stanislav Pozdnyakov, none of the 1,000 Russian athletes mentioned in the report by Richard McLaren, has been found guilty. Thus, the information in the document can be considered of the incomplete nature or unreliable.
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Petrenko has also commented on the case of the World Anti-Doping Agency informer, Grigory Rodchenkov, saying that if there were any violations of the anti-doping rules in the country, they were purely individual.
“If there were any violations of anti-doping rules, they were of a purely individual nature,” she said.
Rodchenkov became a key figure in the scandal, which led to the suspension of part of the Russian team from participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In May 2016, the New York Times published an article on doping in Russian sports, in which Rodchenkov said that at least 15 athletes from Russia who won medals at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi were a part of the alleged state “doping program.”
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According to Petrenko, the Russian investigative committee has initiated another criminal case against Rodchenkov.
“The actions of Rodchenkov, as well as of former head of the Doping Control Department of Timofei Sobolevsky and other individuals, show attempts to obstruct a comprehensive, full, objective investigation of the criminal case, which in world practice and in accordance with Russian legislation is a criminally punishable act,” Petrenko said.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly refuted Rodchenkov’s statements. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko said that Russia would never agree with the charges.