Alexander Zhukov: “The country has gone through a complete reboot of the anti-doping system”

Today the Independent Public Anti-doping Commission in cooperation with the Russian Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation held a meeting, dedicated to the implementation of anti-doping measures.

The meeting was attended by Chairman of the PLA Vitaly Smirnov, President of the ROC Alexander Zhukov, Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov, ROC Vice-President Igor Levitin, Vice-President of the ROC, President of the Russian Association of Summer Olympic sports Vladimir Lisin, Vice-President of the ROC, President of the Association of Winter Olympic Sports Vladimir Kozhin, President of the Paralympic Committee Vladimir Lukin, as well as heads of sports federations.

Vitaliy Smirnov opened the meeting. He summed up the results of the Independent Public Anti-doping Commission’s work in the year that has passed since its creation at the initiative of the Country’s President.

– The task set in front of us was to create one of  the most innovative and effective anti-doping system, said the Chairman of the Commission. We think that we coped with it.

The system is based on the National Plan, that was designed by leading anti-doping experts and representatives of state authorities, ministries and departments. The Government designed a set of measures for its realization.

Vitaliy Smirnov quoted the report delivered by the UNESCO experts at the Conference of Parties to the International Convention against Doping in Sport, held in late September in Paris. After reviewing the National plan, the experts came to the conclusion that ‘some proposals for the fight against doping are innovative in nature, and some have already been implemented’, pointed out that Russia ‘is among the most advanced countries in terms of the effectiveness of anti-doping fight’ and that other countries could follow it’s example.

– Changes were made to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, – said Smirnov. For the first time in the country’s history inducement to doping was criminalized. The first criminal case against one of the coaches has already started. The law is already working.

– At the time, WADA has proposed several criteria to restore RUSADA’s status. They were all completed.  RUSADA founders were changed. Currently its founders are the Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Funding is provided directly through the Ministry of Finance. That ensures RUSADA’s operational independence. In accordance with the recommendation of the independent experts RUSADA’s budget was increased more than threefold. Now it is 566 million rubles per year.

– In September a preliminary audit check of the Agency’s activities was held. In November, the WADA Board will consider on RUSADA’s compliance status.

One of the sore subjects is therapeutic exceptions. ‘It is difficult for us to accept  that one of the countries has 500 such exceptions, while Russia claimed only 30’.

However, as noted by Smirnov, RUSADA still has to re-learn how to organize the planning, sampling and testing processes. One of the patients the therapeutic exception. “We find it difficult to accept that one of the countries 500 of these exceptions, and Russia claimed only 30”.

According to the Head of the Independent commission, unfortunately, foreign colleagues  are poorly informed about our achievements, because those are silenced. In this connection an English-language brochure was  prepared describing Russian reforms in the area of the fight against doping.

Smirnov said that at the extraordinary IOC Session in Lausanne he and Zhukov talked to the President of France Emmanuel Macron and with US NOC leaders. Russian officials offered to resume the practice match plays: for France its fencing and judo, for the US its wrestling and gymnastics. Recently we were informed that President of France supported the idea!

As for the participation of our athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games under the Russian flag, the decision largely depends on the work of two disciplinary commissions of the IOC under the leadership of Samuel Schmid and Denis Oswald.

– As it was clearly articulated at the Lima IOC Session held in September, both commissions will try to finish their work until the end of 2017, but it is already clear that the IOC will make a decision the under severe time pressure. The leaders of the winter sports federations should  maintain a dialogue with the representatives of the international federations and athletes should continue to prepare for the Olympic season and comply strictly with all the requirements,” – summed up Vitaly Smirnov.

The ROC President Alexander Zhukov called upon the sports federations to inform their international colleagues on the anti-doping measures implemented and to ensure that the Olympic team candidates passed the required number of doping tests by the start of the Games.

“During the work of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission our country has gone through a complete reboot of the anti-doping system. I must say that these changes found positive response from the international sports community. It was noted, in particular, at the UNESCO conference in Paris and at the IOC Session in Lima.

It is also significant that WADA President Craig Reedie did not support the initiative of some foreign anti-doping agencies, which addressed the IOC members with an appeal not to allow our athletes to participate in the 2018 Games under the Russian flag. Undoubtedly, the partial restoration of RUSADA’s rights is a great step forward.

The ROC continues to actively cooperate with the IOC Commissions, informing them of what is going on in the anti-doping sphere in Russia. It is very important that all candidates for participation in the Pyeongchang Olympic Games have passed the required number of doping tests. The IOC once again drew attention to it. In most of the international federations and the IOC believe that there should be at least 3 negative doping samples taken at foreign laboratories for a certain period. For its part, the ROC is ready to assist our federations in this, so that no one in the world has any doubt as to the purity of Russian athletes.

It is very important that the fight against doping did not exist merely on paper. Zero tolerance for violators should be the norm in society. So no one thought to resort to prohibited drugs. This is especially true for coaches who work with children,” – said Alexander Zhukov.

The Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov has noted the role of the state in the fight against doping.

“It is gratifying that such meetings become regular. Recently we held a seminar on anti-doping matters with representatives of the federations of non-Olympic sports. There is extensive educational work in the regions. The RUSADA and the ROC help us in it. The state’s efforts to reform the anti-doping system are estimated highly enough. Everyone can see that we are moving in the right direction,” said Pavel Kolobkov.

Vladimir Lukin recalled that on 6 September, the Executive Committee of the International Paralympic Committee announced the admission of Russian Paralympic athletes qualifying to compete as independent athletes. “We consider this to be the first constructive step towards reinstating RPC’s membership in the international Olympic movement,” – said Lukin.

The IPC Executive Committee approved so-called limited intermediate measures for our athletes, – said the head of the RPC. – On September 15, he opened access into the control system of sports data to apply for the  Alpine skiing, snowboarding, ski racing, biathlon competitions. We introduced 68 athletes in it.

– One of the basic requirements of the IPC limited interim measures for participation in the qualifying competitions is that within six months before the first starts, which will be held in early November, the athlete should pass the doping tests at least two times. To date, 41 of the 68 were tested two or more times.

– On 29 August in Bonn at the meeting of the IPC working group, it was confirmed that we have accomplished most of the points. So now the situation is as follows: the Executive Committee upheld the suspension RPC with further possible revision of this decision in November after a meeting of the Council of Founders of the WADA.

Speaking next, the President of the Russian Association of summer Olympic sports Vladimir Lisin encouraged to make adjustments in the control system, since sports federations, which are responsible for anti-doping rule violations, do not have effective levers of influence on athletes and coaches who are on the rates in the regions.

Finally, assistant to the President of the Russian Federation Igor Levitin has declared the Russian Olympians Foundation’s readiness to allocate funds for education course for persons responsible for the fight against doping in the sports federations. “It is only necessary that the ROC and the Ministry of Sports took the lead in organizing the classes, said Levitin.