President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to look at way of tightening anti-doping controls in Russian sport, according to a statement on the Kremlin website. Putin, a keen practitioner of judo and ice hockey, ordered the property of the national Anti-Doping Laboratory to be transferred to a newly created body, the website said without elaborating.
Russian track and field athletes were banned from this summer’s Rio Olympics after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping.
Putin asked officials to look into directly financing the new laboratory, and contributions to WADA, from the state budget, the Kremlin said.
The Rio athletics ban was a blow to the prestige of a country that has long prided itself as an Olympic superpower. Russia has said it is acting to clean up sport, while arguing that doping is a worldwide problem and protesting that it has been unfairly singled out for political reasons.
Reports issued by WADA said Russian authorities covered up doping for years, sometimes with the help of the FSB security service, and ran an elaborate system to help their athletes cheat their way to gold medals in the 2014 Winter Olympics while evading detection.
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The 2014 Games, staged in the southern resort of Sochi, were a pet project of Putin, who lavished some $50 billion on them in an effort to present a dazzling spectacle to the world.