Allegations against anti-doping lab false: Russian minister

Moscow: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has dismissed as false statements made earlier in the month by ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov on alleged doping abuse by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. "Any attempt to open a doping sample cannot go unnoticed," Mutko said on Monday. "It is simply impossible and every stage [of doping test] was not under our control," reports Tass. "I cannot confirm his Rodchenkov’s allegations," Mutko said. "The government was not involved in it." In an interview with New York Times, published in mid-May, the ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Rodchenkov claimed that an unnamed official from the sports ministry used sending him lists of national athletes, whose doping samples he had to substitute during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Rodchenkov also said he developed a special cocktail consisting of three banned doping substances intended for the national athletes at home Games two years ago. The ex-doping official also claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. He added that some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances. The Russian sports minister also said that in case Rodchenkov’s involvement in the substitution of doping samples at the 2014 Olympics was proved, the Russian authorities would launch a criminal probe against him. "This is a criminal case and he must stand a trial," Mutko said. "Following orders from the Russian president we have handed over all material to the Russian state investigative committee and a relevant investigation is currently underway." "I may now state firmly and in publicity that the Russian authorities have nothing to do with it," Mutko added. "Moreover, since 2010 the Russian authorities led a consistent fight against doping abuse." The IOC requested the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to initiate an investigation into allegations that testing at the Sochi laboratory was subverted. The IOC also urged the Russian Olympic authorities to provide full assistance in WADA’s new probe. The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 won medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer.