Kazakhstan to beef up doping control ahead of Rio Olympics
The head of Kazakhstan's national anti-doping centre has pledged to crack down on drug cheats ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro following the doping scandal that rocked neighbour Russia, AFP reports.
"We need to toughen checks on all of our country's competitors trying to get into the Olympic squad," Maira Bakasheva told AFP Monday
"We will do our best to ensure that none of the dope cheats will enter the Olympic village at Rio."
The pledge comes as Kazakhstan's former Soviet Union master Russia grapples with a doping scandal that has seen its track and field team banned from competition and facing possible exclusion from the Rio Games.
Bakahseva expressed concern about the growth in the number of positive doping results that came back from tests on the country's athletes over the last year.
"The samples of 16 of our country's athletes gave positive results," she said.
"It's not too much, but in comparison with 2014, when only six athletes tested positive, it's a serious increase."
Kazakhstan's anti-doping boss added that she has been worried over the fact that four of the dope cheats last year were aged under 18.
"It's a pity that the athletes use performance-enhancing drugs in pursuit of results at the very beginning of their careers," she said.
"Sometimes they do it without the knowledge of their coaches and parents especially in rural areas, where the medical supervision isn't comprehensive."
Bakasheva rejected the possibility of a doping scandal, similar to the one that has hit Russia, rattling Kazakhstan.
Russia's anti-doping body RUSADA and Moscow's anti-doping laboratory have been suspended by the world athletics ruling body IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA after a bombshell report alleged state-sponsored doping in the country.
"In Kazakhstan it's not possible for several reasons, she said.
"Our centre is under the full control of WADA and we're trying to uphold our reputation and don't want to put it at any risk."