IOC vows tough sanctions against Russia after doping report

Russia could be banned from Rio's 2016 Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee confirmed reports that Moscow conspired to conceal hundreds of positive doping tests.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Richard McLaren, who was appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to head an independent investigative team, presents his report in Toronto, Canada on July 18, 2016

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday promised "the toughest sanctions available" after a report found Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping tests in many sports ahead of the Sochi Winter Games and Rio Olympics.

The IOC did not spell out whether it would heed growing calls for Olympic bans already imposed on Russia's track and field athletes and weightlifters to be extended to all its competitors in Rio.

However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) urged to consider IOC to ban all Russian competitors and officials from next months’s Games and other events.

The IOC President Thomas Bach said on the “state-run doping” scandal that the independent WADA investigation had revealed "a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games.

The IOC Executive Board is to hold a telephone conference on Tuesday to take its first decisions, which may include provisional measures and sanctions with regard to the Rio Olympics.

"Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated."

Vitalina Simonova, 23, who tested positive for testosterone in June 2015, received a four-year-suspension for doping until June 2019, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced on July 9, 2016. Image: AFP.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who staked his reputation on the Sochi Games, the costliest in history, said the WADA-backed report was the result of political interference and that the Olympic movement could now split.

The report confirmed allegations made by Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

He told the New York Times two months ago that dozens of Russians had used performance-enhancing drugs in Sochi with the support not only of national sports authorities but even the domestic intelligence service, the FSB.

Monday's report said Russia, a traditional sporting superpower, had been stung into action by its performance at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, where it finished 11th, with only three gold medals.

"The surprise result of the Sochi investigation was the revelation of the extent of State oversight and directed control of the Moscow Laboratory in processing and covering up urine samples of Russian athletes from virtually all sports before and after the Sochi Games," said the report, which was unveiled in Toronto.

TRTWorld and agencies