Doping: Wada urges Russia to stop hacks

Mr Olivier Niggli at the 2016 Wada media symposium at Lord's cricket ground in London.
Mr Olivier Niggli at the 2016 Wada media symposium at Lord's cricket ground in London. PHOTO: AFP

MONTREAL (AFP) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) on Thursday (Sept 15) called on Russia to do all it could to stop a series of hacks that have resulted in the medical records of star athletes being published.

"We condemn this criminal activity and have asked the Russian government to do everything in their power to make it stop," said Mr Olivier Niggli, Wada's director-general.

He said the hack on Wada's computer system constituted "retaliation" against the agency, which imposed heavy penalties against Russia over doping, including banning practically its entire athletics team from the Rio Olympics.

On Tuesday, Wada announced that the Russian cyber-espionage group Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bears, had broken into its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (Adams) database.

The hacking group released information gleaned from the files of sports stars including US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams.

In a fresh release, the group this time published confidential data of 25 athletes, from eight countries.

"To those athletes that have been impacted, we regret that criminals have attempted to smear your reputations in this way," said Mr Niggli.

On Wednesday, Russia's sports minister denied there had been any Russian government involvement in the hacks.

"How can you prove that they are hackers from Russia? You blame Russia for everything," Mr Vitaly Mutko said through a translator on the sidelines of a Uefa congress.