MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's sports minister said on Thursday that concerns raised over a vast bank of Russian doping data being scrutinized for possible abuses were of a purely technical nature and that the data had not been tampered with.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said it identified inconsistencies in laboratory data provided by Moscow earlier this year, potentially jeopardizing the country's participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"Nothing was deleted... This is a purely technical question linked to the way the system's work is organized," Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said.
Kolobkov's comments came after Yuri Ganus, the head of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, said the data handed to WADA had been manipulated.
"There were no so-called manipulations as comrade Ganus says. What's more, this word doesn't feature anywhere and doesn't appear in any WADA document," Kolobkov said.
Russia was barred from the Pyongchang Winter Games last year as punishment for alleged state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, although some Russians with no history of doping were cleared to compete as neutrals.
The Russian Olympic Committee said in September that the country could miss the Tokyo Games if Moscow failed to explain why the data was inconsistent.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Christian Radnedge)