Amid a continued doping scandal throughout Russia, the country's sports minister said Tuesday he could resign, reported Reuters. His comments come as a new wave of failed doping tests struck Russia's wrestling team and threatened the country's chances at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The country's Olympic wrestling team has reported "tens" of doping cases that could keep its athletes out of the August Rio games, reported the Associated Press. The latest failed tests come as Russian sports have already been rocked by a widespread doping scandal in track in field and the high-profile failed drug test of tennis star Maria Sharapova for banned drug meldonium.
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"The epidemic of doping is like a catastrophe," the head of the Russian Sports Wrestling Federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili said, according to the Associated Press, in comments made to the newspaper Sport Express. "Of course I don't even want to say this, but it could happen that we don't have anyone left to go the Olympics," he said.
Russia is typically one of the top wrestling countries dominated at the 2012 London Olympics. While Mamiashvili would not provide specifics for which wrestlers were involved in the new scandal, he said there had been "several tens" of cases.
Russia has seen a number of failed tests for meldonium, a drug that supposedly boosts endurance and was recently banned Jan. 1 by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Russian officials revealed Monday that four track and field athletes had failed tests for the drug, bringing the total tally for the country to at least 16.
Amid the continued crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown support for the country's sports minister, Vitaly Mutko. Putin said Tuesday Mutko would remain in his position of eight years, but the sports minister said he would leave if asked, according to Reuters.
In comments made to the R-Sport news agency, Mutko said, "The country has a leadership who take these decisions. When I see that the matter concerns me, I will leave my post."