Russia to increase security at athletics event

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian sports officials said Tuesday they will beef up security at upcoming sports events and the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in the wake of deadly explosions at Boston’s marathon that killed three people, and injured over 140 others.

World Athletics Championship takes place in Moscow on Aug. 10-18, and the event is seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2014 Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Mikhail Butov, secretary general of the Russian Athletics Federation, said on Tuesday that they would get in touch with the organizers of the Boston marathon to find out which security precautions may have failed.

“Our security measures are tough as they are,” Butov told The Associated Press. “But when it’s clear what actually happened (in Boston), we will draw our conclusions.”

Federation’s president, Valentin Balakhnichev, told the Interfax news agency that the Boston bombings on Monday revealed “problems” in ensuring security at outdoors events and expressed concern that it may inspire “other organizers of terrorist attacks.”

Russia is gearing up for twelve months of top-level international events including the Universiade in Kazan in July, the World Athletics Championships in Moscow in August and the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February of 2014.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko described the attack in Boston as “a grave signal.”

“Naturally, we’re beefing up security measures,” Mutko told the R-Sport news agency. He defended tough security measures Russian officials put in place at sporting events despite complaints by some foreign officials and athletes who consider them excessive.

Security precautions were high at international test events in Sochi in January and February. Some athletes were bemused by what they described as unprecedented security measures including patrols of guards with assault rifles and German shepherds as well as incessant checks of credentials.

The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee could not immediately comment on how the bombings in Boston are going to affect the preparations for the Games.

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Yelena Yegorova contributed to this report.

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