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Russia accuses whistleblower Rodchenkov of distributing drugs

Next week, the IOC will decide whether Russia can compete at next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Grigory Rodchenkov's involvement in Russian doping is explored in the Netflix documentary 'Icarus', directed by Bryan Fogel (right)
Grigory Rodchenkov's involvement in Russian doping is explored in the Netflix documentary 'Icarus', directed by Bryan Fogel (right)

RUSSIAN INVESTIGATORS ON Tuesday accused a whistleblower, who has spoken out about Moscow’s doping cover-up at the Sochi Winter Olympics, of personally supplying athletes and coaches with performance-enhancing drugs.

The claims about Grigory Rodchenkov come ahead of a crucial meeting next week when the International Olympic Committee is to decide whether Russia can compete at next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Russia’s state committee of inquiry said Rodchenkov had supplied the country’s athletes with doping products and eliminated the samples given for testing to conceal the evidence of his crime.

“It was established that Rodchenkov personally supplied the athletes and coaches with medicines whose proven features were not known to them but which later were established to constitute performance-enhancing drugs,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

He then destroyed the athletes’ samples and accused Russia of implementing of “a certain doping programme” and concealed “the results of his criminal activities,” the statement on the committee’s official website added.

In September, Moscow’s court issued an arrest warrant for Rodchenkov, who helped orchestrate the country’s state-sponsored Olympic doping programme and has since fled to the United States.

Earlier this month the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it had obtained an “enormous” internal database of Russian drug test results from 2012-2015.

Russia’s investigators, who have previously offered WADA to jointly examine the database, expressed their concerns over its vulnerability.

The Investigative Committee said it had received “evidence of the vulnerability of the database,” adding that Rodchenkov and his assistants had remote access to it after they fled to the United States.

The explosive 2016 McLaren report commissioned by WADA alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia and saw the country shut out of the agency.

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The investigation said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Russian secret agents engineered an elaborate system of state-backed doping.

Russia’s anti-doping body RUSADA was declared “non-compliant” while the country’s track and field team was banned from the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

The fallout from the doping issue continues — on Monday, the IOC stripped two more Russian bobsleighers of their gold medals from Sochi.

Aleksei Negodailo and Dmitrii Trunenkov were among five Russians also given life bans from the Olympics.

Russia has consistently denied running a state-run doping programme and has attempted to pin all the blame on Rodchenkov’s laboratory and Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency.

The IOC will next week hear the results of two investigations into Russian doping before making its decision on Pyeongchang.

Rodchenkov’s involvement in Russian doping is explored in the Netflix documentary Icarus, directed by Bryan Fogel. The filmmaker, who is also the documentary’s protagonist, spoke to The42 back in August.

© Agence France-Presse

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