Athletes call for Wada to ban Russia again

MONTREAL • The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has been warned by its own athletes' committee that if it does not ban Russia again, it will have failed clean athletes.

Wada came under fire after the Russian authorities allowed a Dec 31 deadline to hand over doping data from its Moscow laboratory to lapse, the key condition of a controversial deal to lift the three-year suspension on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) in September.

It would have paved the way for Russia's athletes to return to competition across all sports after a 2016 report that uncovered a state-sponsored doping programme.

To make matters worse, Wada president Craig Reedie had offered a "100 per cent" guarantee the Russians would comply in November.

Wada's compliance review committee (CRC) will meet on Jan 14-15 to make a recommendation to the executive committee on how to proceed. But the athletes' committee said the only option is for Russia to be suspended again.

It said in a statement: "We now expect that following the process recommended by the CRC that Russia will be declared non-compliant.

"Only this action will be suitable and appropriate in the view of the athletes. Anything less will be considered a failure by Wada to act on behalf of clean athletes."

Wada also faced mounting pressure from national anti-doping organisations (Nado), including from the United States and Germany, who called for an immediate review from the CRC.

"We recognise Rusada has been working with Wada in an effort to resolve these issues, but the conditions… were unequivocal and, without data, there can be only one outcome," Nado leaders said. "The importance of this situation does not warrant providing a further two weeks for Russia to comply."

UK Anti-Doping, which did not add its name to the statement, said it was "deeply concerned" by Russia's behaviour. US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart added: "No one is surprised this deadline was ignored and it's time for Wada to stop being played by the Russians."

Last month, the International Association of Athletics Federations said it was maintaining Russia's ban from track and field. Russia's athletics team were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and also missed the World Championships in London a year later.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'Athletes call for Wada to ban Russia again'. Print Edition | Subscribe