Russia, facing possible Olympic ban, pledges to work with anti-doping authorities
Russia will fully cooperate with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and international sports authorities after a WADA committee recommended imposing a four-year Olympic ban on the country, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.
The WADA committee recommended this week that Russia be banned from the Olympics and world championships in a wide range of sports for four years after Moscow was found to have provided the agency with doctored laboratory data.
The committee's recommendations will be put to WADA's executive committee in Paris on Dec. 9.
"The Russian authorities have been, are, and will be highly open to cooperation with the international sports community as well as with WADA," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
Russian sports officials on Tuesday spoke out against the committee's recommendations, saying they were overly harsh and would hurt sport there.
Meanwhile, the US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart called for WADA to impose the Olympic ban.
"Wada must get tougher and impose the full restriction on Russian athlete participation in the Olympics that the rules allow," he said.
"Only such a resolute response has a chance of getting Russia's attention, changing behaviour, and protecting today's clean athletes who will compete in Tokyo, as well as future generations of athletes in Russia who deserve better than a cynical, weak response to the world's repeated calls for Russia to clean up its act.
"It is sad when a country's athletes suffer for the fraud of the governmental and sport system they represent. However, the failure to stand up to Russia's five-year flaunting of the rules would cause even more harm to athletes in and outside of Russia. The time for the toughest penalty available is now."