Russia escapes Wada sanctions

President of the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) Craig Reedie at the Wada Symposium in Ecublens, Switzerland, on March 21, 2018.
President of the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) Craig Reedie at the Wada Symposium in Ecublens, Switzerland, on March 21, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

But world doping body says it will act if any of the retrieved data had been tampered with

MONTREAL • Russia will not face new penalties for missing the Dec 31 deadline to allow investigators access to the Moscow laboratory at the centre of alleged state-sponsored doping, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) confirmed yesterday.

It said it would follow a road map for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) to keep its accreditation and would not suspend the body for the missed deadline.

"Several members of the (Executive Committee) voiced their disappointment that the deadline had been missed, but agreed that no sanction in that regard should be imposed," Wada president Craig Reedie said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had expressed confidence, telling state news agency Tass that Moscow was "certainly expecting a positive outcome".

Wada lifted a three-year ban on Rusada last September, but threatened to declare it non-compliant again if it was not granted access to the laboratory data by the end of last year. The deadline was not met because of disagreements over the equipment used in transferring the data, but Wada revealed last Thursday it had retrieved the data.

However, Reedie warned that although "significant progress" had been made in "resolving the Russian doping matter", if it was determined that any of the data had been tampered with, Wada would take swift action.

Jonathan Taylor, who heads Wada's Compliance Review Committee (CRC), added: "If that review were to confirm tampering, the CRC would consider that to be extremely serious non-compliance and can be expected to recommend Wada pursues the most stringent sanctions."

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET

If that review were to confirm tampering, the CRC would consider that to be extremely serious non-compliance and ... recommend Wada pursues the most stringent sanctions.

JONATHAN TAYLOR, head of Wada's Compliance Review Committee.

Russia has denied the existence of state-sponsored doping in the country, but has acknowledged some shortcomings in its enforcement of anti-doping regulations.

Separately, former world champions Sergey Shubenkov and Maria Lasitskene were among 42 Russian athletes cleared to compete as neutrals in international competitions this year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Monday.

The IAAF added that the athletes, who were also afforded neutral status last year, had met their doping review board's "exceptional eligibility criteria" of training in an environment that passed the necessary anti-doping requirements.

The Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) has been suspended since 2015 over a report commissioned by Wada that found evidence of widespread, state-sponsored doping in the sport.

The IAAF said: "The participation of all these athletes as neutral athletes in international competition is still subject to formalities for eligibility under IAAF rules being completed and subject to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organisers."

Lasitskene has won the women's high jump at the last two world championships, while Shubenkov triumphed in the men's 110 m hurdles at the 2015 event.

This year's world championships will take place in Doha from Sept 27-Oct 6.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, DPA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2019, with the headline 'Russia escapes Wada sanctions'. Print Edition | Subscribe