Rus­sia needs ‘cul­tural’ change to lift ban

IAAF pres­i­dent wants to see more progress from RUSAF in anti-dop­ing

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Rus­sia still needs to demon­strate a “cul­tural shift” in its com­mit­ment to clean sport if its track and field ath­letes hope to com­pete un­der the na­tion’s flag again, IAAF Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe said on Fri­day.

Rus­sia’s ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion (RUSAF) has been banned since Novem­ber 2015 after an in­de­pen­dent World An­ti­Dop­ing Agency (WADA) probe ex­posed state-spon­sored dop­ing on a mas­sive scale.

An IAAF task force con­firmed this week that the ban will re­main in place un­til at least Novem­ber, mean­ing Rus­sian ath­letes will not com­pete at the World Cham­pi­onships in London in Au­gust, hav­ing al­ready been ex­cluded from last year’s Rio Olympic Games.

The work­ing party’s head, Rune An­der­son, said Rus­sia’s ef­forts to build a cred­i­ble anti-dop­ing regime still faced var­i­ous head­winds, in­clud­ing prob­lems en­forc­ing pro­vi­sional dop­ing bans, lim­ited drug test­ing at na­tional level and “trou­bling in­ci­dents” when test­ing was tak­ing place.

Al­though “con­fi­dent” that RUSAF was a very dif­fer­ent fed­er­a­tion since the ban was en­forced, Coe said the IAAF com­mis­sion was not sat­is­fied that enough checks and bal- an­ces were in place.

“We work very well with the new pres­i­dent of RUSAF [Dmitri Shlyakhtin],” the Bri­ton told re­porters in Mel­bourne.

“And the view of the com­mis­sion is that there is a recog­ni­tion [in Rus­sia] of a need for change, par­tic­u­larly with tra­di­tional coach­ing meth­ods.

“But we need to make sure that that is consistent with what is also be­ing said and ex­pressed pub­licly.”

He noted Rus­sia had made “some” progress, but there are still some ar­eas the IAAF wants to see more.

“I don’t think [the de­ci­sion] came as a huge sur­prise to RUSAF. And of course WADA has still to look at RUSAF as be­ing code-com­pli­ant,” he said.

“There needs to be some cul­tural shift as well ... but we’re mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

Coe said the IAAF was con­sid­er­ing al­low­ing Rus­sian ath­letes to com­pete as neu­trals at the global show­piece but cast se­ri­ous doubt on the abil­ity of RUSAF to re­join world ath­let­ics this year.

“This year? Prob­a­bly not, but we may still see in­di­vid­ual Rus­sian ath­letes in the World Cham­pi­onships in London in a neutral ca­pac­ity,” he said.

“There’s no guar­an­tee. They have ap­plied and we need to look at all of those in a case by case study by our own board and let’s see where we get to.”

Rus­sia’s cred­i­bil­ity in the fight against drug cheats suf­fered an­other blow in De­cem­ber with the re­lease of the sec­ond re­port by Cana­dian pro­fes­sor Richard McLaren, which said Moscow had “hi­jacked in­ter­na­tional sport” over a five-year pe­riod.

The re­port found more than 1,000 Rus­sian com­peti­tors in 30 sports were in­volved in an “in­sti­tu­tional con­spir­acy” to cover up pos­i­tive tests.

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