The doping view of the Olympics is focused on Russian athletes



Posted on: Thursday, July 22, 2021 – 2:45 PM | Last update: Thursday, July 22, 2021 – 2:45 PM

Russian athletes are among the most tested ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Thursday, after Russia was embroiled in a widespread doping scandal at the previous Games..

The agency, which was established in 2018, is overseeing the anti-doping program at the Olympics for the first time and began out-of-competition testing when the Olympic Village opened on July 13.

Russian athletes were banned from competing in Tokyo under the Russian flag and the country’s anthem and instead competed as athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee, after a series of doping scandals shocked the sports world.

“I will certainly not hide that Russian athletes rank high in the risk assessment based on previous years,” said Benjamin Cohen, the agency’s director general.

Many Russian athletes missed the last two editions of the Olympics and were banned from raising the country’s flag at the 2018 Winter Games, as punishment for Russia’s sponsorship of doping for its athletes at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Russia has acknowledged deficiencies in implementing anti-doping policies, but denies running a state-sponsored doping programme.

“We are confident that Russian athletes are subjected to tests sometimes more than athletes of other countries,” Cohen added, noting that the most affected countries are the United States and China, along with Russia.

The agency plans to collect 5,000 samples during the Games, 1,500 of which are outside competitions. About 11,000 athletes will participate in the Olympic Games, which start on Friday.

“We make every effort to detect cheating and it is our role to protect the athletes and the integrity of the competitions,” Cohen added.


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