Doping cases involving Russian athletes has more than doubled this year, revealed a report published yesterday.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) admitted that since the beginning of this year, 88 athletes across a range of sports have been sanctioned for a variety of offenses, while more than 80 other competitors are currently under investigation.
The eye-catching statistics are set to reignite fears that Russia’s doping problem is out of control.
But RUSADA claims that the increased figures are down because the organization is conducting more drug testing than ever before.
“The number of breaches of anti-doping rules, including those at the investigation stage, over the first nine months of the current year is almost double the analogous data for the whole of last year,” RUSADA said in a statement published on the Russian language section of its website today.
Following international criticism, Russia has radically stepped up the amount of testing it is doing in the build-up to major events that are being held in the country, including the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, held in Moscow in August, and next year’s Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi.
The statement on the RUSADA website claimed 13,674 urine and 3,118 blood tests had been carried out.
More than 50 percent of the tests were conducted out of competition.
RUSADA also claimed that more 1,000 athletes had a biological passport: an individual, electronic record for professional athletes, in which profiles of biological markers of doping and results of doping tests are collated over a period of time.
“The Agency’s work in 2013 focused primarily on the preparation for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi,” the statement said.
“[It has] formed a national testing pool that includes candidates for the Olympic team and conducted a systematic work on the training of athletes, coaches, medical staff teams in an effort to combat doping in sport.
“It has held 38 seminars and educational interactive quizzes … it has reached more than 80 percent of the athletes who are candidates for a place in the Olympic team.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.