July 10, 2017 / 2:46 PM / 3 months ago

Russia approves anti-doping plan to try to clean up image

FILE PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chairs a meeting with members of the government in Moscow, Russia June 29, 2017. Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday approved a plan designed to stamp out doping, part of Moscow’s push to rehabilitate its tarnished sporting image and overturn a ban on most of its track-and-field athletes competing internationally.

The measures, published on the government’s official website, include the creation of a new national anti-doping laboratory and rolling out education programmes to discourage the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Getting existing national anti-doping agency RUSADA fully compliant with international standards is another objective.

WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, suspended RUSADA after a report published in November 2015 found evidence of state-sponsored doping and accused it of systematically violating anti-doping regulations.

Russian authorities deny there was a state-backed doping programme, but have pledged to follow international recommendations to get the suspension of RUSADA, Russia’s athletics federation, and the Russian Paralympic Committee lifted.

WADA last month announced it was allowing RUSADA to plan and coordinate testing under the supervision of international experts, saying the agency had met some of the requirements for its reinstatement.

WADA told Reuters last week that RUSADA still needed to do a number of things before it could regain its accreditation, including a “series of compliance audits that WADA will conduct in the coming months.”

WADA said it will publish the remaining requirements for RUSADA to regain compliance later this month.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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