Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber, Russia's Vladimir Morozov and Israel's Toumarkin, July 29, 2012.
Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber, Russia's Vladimir Morozov and Israel's Yakov Toumarkin compete in the men's 100m backstroke heats swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 29, 2012. Photo by AFP
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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has accused hosts Britain of using political clout to win medals at the London Olympics.

"The Brits are just as [bad] as [the Chinese] in Beijing," Mutko told Russian media on Saturday. "Here in London everyone wants the British to win. They have a very strong political support."

Mutko's comments came as the Russians faced the prospect of their worst finish on the medal table since they entered the 1952 Games as the Soviet Union. Since those Helsinki Games until 2004, the former Soviet Union and then Russia tussled with the United States at the top of thea medal table.

They have been usurped by a strong showing from Britain, with Team GB third on the table with 59 medals, 26 of them gold. Russia has 19 gold medals and 70 in total with one day remaining.

Mutko had said before the London Games that "it would not be a national tragedy" if the 436-strong team finished fourth on the table.

The Russians, however, had high hopes for their boxing team before the Games, but Mutko singled out the sport as being particularly suspect.

"Three of our boxers had been prevented from reaching the final," Mutko said, referring to three fighters who lost their semifinal bouts.

David Aryapetyan lost to Thailand's Kaeo Pongprayoon 13-12, Misha Aloian lost to Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar 15-11, and Andrei Zamkovoy lost to Kazakhstan's Serik Sapiyev 18-12.

Mutko added that Britain's boxers may have benefited from a partisan home crowd swaying the judges.

"[The British] are planning a happy end in boxing tomorrow," he said after three British men advanced to Sunday's finals.

He also felt Sofya Ochigava, who lost to Ireland's Katie Taylor 10-8 in the women's lightweight final on Thursday, should have won the gold medal.

"She didn't deserve such a score," he said. "You have to be blind."

Boxing has been the subject of controversy in the past; at one time it was in danger of being thrown out of the Olympics amid corruption allegations.

The competition at the ExCel center also saw controversies when a Turkmen referee and an Azerbaijani official were expelled last week, while a German referee was suspended for five days.