Putin urges not to politicise Russian doping scandal

Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged not to politicise the doping scandal involving his country's athletes, while vowing to cooperate with international organisations in order to prevent such incidents in the future. "We need to actively develop, as before, partnerships with international organisations working in this field, primarily with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee," Xinhua quoted Putin as saying at a meeting with government officials on Wednesday. Since meldonium has been added to the banned list by WADA, Putin demanded the Russian sports authorities take the new regulation into account and react appropriately. Calling on the government to improve the efficiency of doping prevention, he said Russia is to toughen penalties for violations of anti-doping rules and punish those violating them. "The vast majority of Russian athletes have nothing to do with doping, and it is therefore necessary to do everything to make sure their careers do not suffer from the doping scandals," Putin said. On Saturday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said WADA's decision to ban meldonium was somewhat politically motivated, which the anti-doping body denied, saying the decision has gone through established process. Meldonium, also known as mildronate and used to treat various heart diseases, has been banned by WADA from this year. WADA considers meldonium to be a metabolic modulator that increases athletes' endurance and shortens post-exercise rehabilitation time, as well as enhances central nervous system activation. Ten Russian athletes, including tennis star Maria Sharapova, have been tested positive for meldonium.