LONDON, August 4 (RIA Novosti)
The Russian government will launch “very tough” changes to the country’s sport federations after the country’s athletes disappointed at the start of the Olympics, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Saturday.
Half way through the Olympics, Russia sits tenth in the medals table with three gold medals, behind countries including Kazakhstan and North Korea, after finishing a strong third in Beijing four years ago.
“In several sports, we will make very tough changes,” Mutko said, adding that he did not want to discuss the plans in detail during the Olympics.
“Now we’re almost at war. The main thing is to get to the end and we’ll take measures later.”
Mutko had earlier singled out shooting and fencing as examples of sports where Russians had put in underwhelming performances.
Russia won two silver and two bronze medals in 20 events across both sports.
Last month, the government proposed a change to the law that would allow it to hire and fire the leadership of any sports federation that receives more than half its funding from the state.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.