International Fencing Federation (FIE) President Alisher Usmanov says that Russian fencers set to compete at Rio 2016 should be drugs-tested ahead of the Olympics – to remove any speculation about possible cheating.
Russian sport has been rocked after claims by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Commission, which alleged widespread state-sponsored doping in athletics, and the findings mean other sports in the country have been looked upon with suspicion.
Usmanov, a Uzbek born Russian businessman who is one of the country’s richest men, said the fencers should be tested in WADA accredited laboratories.
The Russian Fencing Federation had already proposed that its athletes who had qualified for Rio be tested.
It is a seemingly pro-active move but testing cannot take place in Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) laboratories as the organisation had its accreditation stripped in wake of the Independent Commission report.
“This will help avoiding possible speculations that athletes had a possibility of resorting to banned substances while the activities of the anti-doping laboratory on the territory of Russia were suspended and they were preparing for the Olympic Games at that time,” Usmanov said to the Rossiya-24 television channel.
“I completely support this initiative as the FIE president.
“Together, we will show that Russian fencers were never into wrongdoings and never violated regulations.”
Usmanov added that it was important to avoid “intended slander” of Russian sports after its athletics Federation was suspended from international competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“A total of 11 countries were mentioned in the doping scandal besides Russia,” he said.
“Definitely not the whole Russian athletic team must be subjected to the ban, as most of the proved doping abusers were representing two or, maybe, three competitions out of 21 in total.
“This is completely not fair.
“We must stand up against it.”
Russia won three fencing medals at the London 2012 Olympics, two silvers and a bronze.
The country held this year’s World Championships in Moscow, and topped the medals table
- By Dan Palmer
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz