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Russia faces fresh embarrassment as second doping report published

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Russia and the International Olympic Committee face further embarrassment today with the publication of the second part of an independent investigation into state-supported doping, reported Sky News (by Paul Kelso).

Canadian lawyer and anti-doping expert Professor Richard McLaren will reveal the next instalment of his report into Russian doping at a press conference in London.

His first report, published before the Rio Olympics, confirmed the involvement of the Russian sports ministry and secret police in covering up positive drugs tests of athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

It found a systematic process for covering up positive tests, with the sports ministry deciding which athletes should be protected.

Records were falsified to protect cheats, and the FSB swapped clean samples for dirty tests through a hole drilled in the anti-doping laboratory's wall.

The report led the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to recommend the entire Russian team be banned from this summer's Games, but the IOC let individual sports decide which athletes should be able to compete.

About 100 Russians were barred from Rio, but the team still finished fourth in the medal table.

The second part of his report is expected to focus on the individual athletes that benefited from the doping cover-up, and will contain further detail on the breadth of sports involved.

The first report revealed that as well as winter Olympics competitors, up to 20 summer Olympic sports were implicated in the scandal.

Russian politicians and sports officials have been in denial ever since the first report. In Moscow on Thursday, officials said they had not even discussed the impending publication of part two.

Speaking after a meeting of the Russian Olympic Committee, its president Alexander Zhukov told reporters: "The main thing we discussed was the results of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang."

Russia could yet face calls to be banned from those Games given the gravity of the corruption in Sochi, but the IOC and its president Thomas Bach have been consistently lenient with Moscow, to the huge frustration of the anti-doping community and many athletes.

Mr Bach has preferred to attack WADA for its failure to address the issues rather than confront Russia and President Vladimir Putin, with whom he forged a personal bond as Russia lavished $50bn (£40bn in today's exchange rates) on the Sochi Games.

Following an executive board meeting on Thursday, the IOC did describe the allegations as "a fundamental attack" on the integrity of the Games, and Bach said he was "concerned" about the allegations.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has been contracted to carry out drugs tests in Russia, but it continues to face obstructions to its work - with testers barred from some military bases, known as closed cities, where athletes are based.

Chief executive Nicole Sapstead told Sky News: "We continue to run a testing programme in Russia, in collaboration with our equivalents (there) and yes, there continue to be the same challenges that WADA have very publicly reported on, in terms of access to closed cities and some obstruction of the work of anti-doping personnel."

At a WADA board meeting in Glasgow last month, Russia denied there was any state-supported doping.

This week, the country appointed former Olympic pole-vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva as chair of its anti-doping advisory board.

Ms Isinbayeva has been a prominent denier of any Russian wrongdoing, and admitted that she had not even read McLaren's first report when she dismissed its central findings as untrue.

Read more at skynews.com.

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