Sport-Russia's anti-doping agency appoints new chief amid crisis

A photographer takes pictures of a sign outside the office of Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in Moscow, Russia September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Saturday appointed Veronika Loginova, a sports and anti-doping official, to head its national anti-doping agency as Moscow tries to emerge from a years-long doping crisis.

Russia has been rocked by doping scandals since 2015 and its athletes are set to compete without their flag and national anthem at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar.

The RUSADA anti-doping agency has been run by acting director Mikhail Bukhanov since the body's former chief was dismissed in August last year.

"Veronika Loginova has become the new general director," the Interfax news agency cited RUSADA as saying.

Loginova is an advisor to the Russian International Olympic University's rector on anti-doping programmes, a member of the Russian Athletics Federation's disciplinary commission and holds other posts.

The Russian Association of Lawyers, one of RUSADA's founders, said it hoped her appointment would help Russia win back the right to compete with its flag and national anthem in December next year.

"This is an extremely important step and milestone in the return of the Russian flag and anthem to competition, as well as the lifting of the ban on major international competitions in Russia," said the association's chairman, Vladimir Gruzdev.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Rohith Nair)

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