Athletics: Russian Olympic Committee advocates 'severe' punishments for drug cheats

Xinhua - The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said on Wednesday that athletes using doping should be severely punished, but "clean athletes" should not be deprived of participating in tournaments.

"Our position is clear. Anyone caught using prohibited substances or illegal drugs for facilitating their application in one way or another, should be disqualified. Those found guilty should be punished as severely as possible," the committee said in a statement.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) commission issued a report on Monday, accusing Russia of violations of anti-doping codes and recommended the country be banned from international athletics.

The ROC said it fully supported the efforts of the IOC, Wada, the international sporting community and public institutions of Russia aimed at fighting doping, and was ready to provide full assistance to any initiative aimed at eradicating this evil.

"This is the only way to preserve the purity of sports," said the committee.

Earlier in the day, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko accepted the resignation of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory head Grigory Rodchenkov.

Wada on Tuesday suspended the accreditation of the agency for six months.

Meanwhile, Mutko also denied Russia's interest in winning medals at any cost.

"It has been (a) long time since we adopted all strategic documents to make it clear that we need a clean sport, not the win at any cost," said the minister.