Russia to create independent anti-doping agency
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has created an independent anti-doping agency, RusADA, in an effort to boost the fight against performance-enhancing drugs, Russia's sports minister said on Friday.
"All the main work has been done already and early next month RusADA will be officially registered and begin its operations," Vyacheslav Fetisov told reporters. "It'll be a fully independent body that will deal with all doping cases."
Fetisov said RusADA's structure would be similar to the U.S. anti-doping agency USADA.
A delegation of senior Russian anti-doping officials will travel to the United States next week to develop better ties with their American colleagues and learn more about the USADA's work.
"The Americans have made great strides in the fight against doping and we're keen to learn more about their system," said Fetisov, who is also one of the founding members of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and heads their Athlete Commission.
Russian sports have been hit by a number of high-profile doping cases recently.
The International Rowing Federation handed two-year bans this week to seven Russian athletes for violating anti-doping rules at last year's world championships in Munich, Germany.
Three prominent Russian women hammer throwers, including world record holder Tatyana Lysenko, face lengthy bans after testing positive for prohibited substances last year.
Until the creation of RusADA, doping cases in Russia have been handled by various sports federations, overseen jointly by Fetisov's ministry and the Russian Olympic Committee.