Russia returned the most positive drug tests in 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed today after the organisation published their Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) Report.
A total of 176 ADRVs were reported from Russia, which was found to have operated an "institutionalised conspiracy" to cheat to win medals at international competitions between 2011 and 2015.
A total of 48 of these came in athletics, with 32 in weightlifting and 27 in powerlifting.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has been non-compliant with WADA since November 2015 following the Independent Commission report into suspected widespread doping in athletics.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie today met with a delegation from Russia, led by Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov and which also included Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov and honorary International Olympic Committee member Vitaly Smirnov.
The meeting took place here at the SportAccord Convention.
Italy were second on the list behind the Russians with 129, closely followed by India on 117.
Bodybuilding was the sport with the highest amount of ADRVs during 2015, the year when the updated WADA Code came into effect, with a total of 270.
Athletics followed with 242, three more than weightlifting's 239.
Cycling was also in the top 10 with 200, with 110 ADRVs uncovered in powerlifting and 108 in football.
"The 2015 ADRVs Report makes for particularly interesting reading in combination with WADA’s 2015 testing figures report that was published last November," Sir Craig said.
"What is particularly striking about this 2015 ADRVs Report is we are beginning to see the first signs of the impact of the revised Code, in particular a significant increase in intelligence-based anti-doping rule violations, an area of increasing focus for the Agency as we strengthen our investigations and intelligence-gathering capacity.
"While testing remains vital to detecting doping, recent events have shown that investigative work is becoming ever more important as we look to protect clean athletes’ rights worldwide.""
The WADA report revealed there were 1,929 ADRVs in 2015, involving individuals from 122 nationalities in 85 sports.
A total of 1,649 came from adverse analytical findings, while 280, including 28 athlete support personnel, resulted from "evidence-based intelligence" non-analytical findings.
According to WADA, this "represents an increase in non-analytical ADRVs, and is in line with the anti-doping movement’s increased focus on investigations, intelligence-gathering and whistleblowing".
The number of punishments handed out in 2015 was an increase of 14 per cent compared with the previous year.
"Further to our efforts to detect and deter doping, the 2015 ADRVs Report reminds us of the importance that preventative education strategies play in the fight against doping," WADA director general Olivier Niggli said.
"Values-based education is one of our core priorities as we engage with athletes to discuss what motivates them to stay clean, why they must not dope and how they can protect themselves against it."
The full report can be read here.