Russian wrestling head clarifies comments on doping cases
'It could happen that we don't have anyone left to go the Olympics,' Russian wrestling head said
The head of the Russian wrestling federation has clarified his statements on doping, saying Tuesday he meant there was an "epidemic" across all sports in the country.
Mikhail Mamiashvili had told local media there were "several tens" of doping cases in Russia, but later said he was not speaking only about wrestling.
"I meant the facts that have already been stated in speedskating, figure skating, swimming and other sports," he was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency.
Russian sports have been hit by several doping scandals in recent years. The recently banned endurance-boosting drug meldonium is responsible for a new wave of failed doping tests this year by Russian athletes, including Maria Sharapova.
While Mamiashvili insisted Russian wrestling's doping problem was smaller than previously reported, he did confirm that Russian national team wrestlers Sergei Semyonov and Evgeny Saleyev had tested positive. Saleyev won a world championship silver medal in 2014.
Mamiashvili told Tass he was not aware of any other doping cases in Russian wrestling.
In neighbouring Georgia, there have been six failed doping tests for meldonium in the country's national wrestling team, including Olympic silver medallist Davit Modzmanashvili. He faces a possible life ban for a second career offence.
Russia finished at the top of the medals table in wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics and won seven gold medals at this month's European championships.
Also Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Vitaly Mutko would remain in his post after the s;ports minister had hinted he could resign over Russia's series of doping scandals.
"Mutko will continue to work as the sports minister," Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Let's not forget that the president ordered an in-depth investigation into the meldonium scandal. In this case, we need to reconstruct events to avoid this in the future."