Russian doping agency says reforms at risk if new suspension
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian anti-doping agency claimed Saturday that reforms in Russian sport are at risk if it is suspended again by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
WADA reinstated the Russian agency, known as RUSADA, in September on condition that Russian authorities turned over key doping data from the Moscow doping laboratory by Dec. 31.
That deadline was missed, leading to calls from some Western athletes and organizations for an immediate suspension, but Russia eventually allowed a WADA team to leave with the data on Thursday. WADA’s board will now rule on RUSADA’s status on Tuesday.
A new suspension will “destructively affect the development of clean sport movement in Russia,” RUSADA chief executive Yuri Ganus said in a letter to WADA. “It will deprive WADA, the international sport and anti-doping movement of the reliable and systematic anti-doping support in Russia in overcoming crises in sport and meeting anti-doping objectives.”
On Friday, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said his ministry “provided the maximum assistance on solving issues related to copying the data,” adding that “now I can say with confidence that we have fulfilled all WADA’s requirements.”
RUSADA collects urine and blood samples from athletes but doesn’t test the samples and didn’t have access to the lab and data, which are sealed off by Russian law enforcement.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wanted RUSADA suspended for missing the deadline. On Friday, British agency UK Anti-Doping drew up a 10-point plan for RUSADA if its suspension remains lifted. That includes enhanced checks in the future for RUSADA and an independent review at WADA into its handling of Russia’s years of doping scandals.