Rio Olympics: Wada chief ready for precedent-setting ban against Russian team

Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), speaking at a Tackling Doping in Sport 2016 conference in London, on March 9, 2016.
Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), speaking at a Tackling Doping in Sport 2016 conference in London, on March 9, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

AFP - Craig Reedie, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), indicated on Monday (June 20) he would be prepared to back a complete ban for the entire Russia team from August's Olympic Games in Rio.

The founding president of Wada, Dick Pound, told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper that such a ban was "not impossible".

On Friday, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) upheld an international ban on Russia's track and field competitors first imposed in November after a Wada team led by veteran Canadian sports administrator Pound revealed state-sponsored doping and mass corruption in Russian athletics.

The Russia team is now ruled out of all events in athletics in Rio, although Russian athletes training outside the country can apply to compete as neutrals at the August 5-21 event in Brazil.

 
 
 

The IAAF's decision was endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday.

But there are fears that the scale of Russia's breaking of doping rules extend beyond just track and field.

In May, Wada set up a new investigation under Professor Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor and longstanding member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), into allegations of state-backed doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian lab now living in Los Angeles, also gave an interview to the New York Times last month in which he said he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the doping lab used for the Sochi Games, with help from people he believed to be officers of the Russian security services.

McLaren, who is due to deliver his full report by July 15, said in a preliminary statement on Friday he had evidence that Russia's Ministry of Sport was involved in instructing a Moscow laboratory to "not report positive sample results over the period before, during and after" the 2013 World Athletics Championships.

"In the coming weeks, we will learn the outcome of our independent McLaren investigation," Reedie, speaking at the Wada symposium at London's Lord's Cricket Ground, said on Monday.

"If his report indicates transgressions of any kind, then there will be a precedent-setting opportunity to demonstrate our collective commitment to cleaning up sport," added the veteran British sports administrator, who reiterated Wada's support for the IAAF ban on Russia.