Olympic sum­mit seeks unity in dop­ing bat­tle

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT - Craig Reedie

WLONDON (AP): ITH THE Rus­sian dop­ing scan­dal still caus­ing bit­ter dis­cord across the in­ter­na­tional sports world, Olympic lead­ers meet to­day to con­sider ways of re­vamp­ing a global drug-test­ing sys­tem bat­tered by po­lit­i­cal dis­putes and a loss of public con­fi­dence.

The role of the World An­ti­Dop­ing Agency (WADA), pro­pos­als for an in­de­pen­dent test­ing body and the con­tin­u­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into state-backed Rus­sian dop­ing are ex­pected to be dis­cussed at the ‘Olympic Sum­mit’ in Lau­sanne, Switzer­land.

The fin­ger-point­ing and blame game against WADA have ramped up re­cently, with sev­eral IOC mem­bers pub­licly blast­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion for its han­dling of the Rus­sian dop­ing cri­sis.

“There seems to be a lot of peo­ple who refuse to ac­cept that the base prob­lem was in­sti­tu­tional Rus­sian cheat­ing,” WADA Pres­i­dent Craig Reedie told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“WADA can­not and will not be held re­spon­si­ble for Rus­sian cheat­ing.”

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee said of­fi­cials will de­bate ideas for “a more ro­bust,

more ef­fi­cient and more in­de­pen­dent world­wide an­ti­dop­ing sys­tem”, in­clud­ing fur­ther talks on mak­ing the en­tire sys­tem “in­de­pen­dent from sports or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

“We will make rec­om­men­da­tions for WADA to im­prove in a very con­struc­tive way,” IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach said. “We will ask WADA to take the or­gan­i­sa­tional mea­sures to per­form these tests in a more ef­fi­cient and more ro­bust way.”

The closed-door meet­ing, to be held at a lux­ury Lau­sanne ho­tel, will be at­tended by about 20 of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing IOC vi­cepres­i­dents, heads of ma­jor in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions, and pres­i­dents of the US, Rus­sian and Chinese na­tional Olympic com­mit­tees.

It’s un­cer­tain whether the de­lib­er­a­tions will pro­duce con­crete de­ci­sions or sim­ply a set of broad prin­ci­ples ahead of an ex­tra­or­di­nary world con­fer­ence on dop­ing next year.


The del­e­gate with per­haps the most at stake is Reedie, whose agency has been harshly crit­i­cised by IOC mem­bers. The fall­out from WADA’s rec­om­men­da­tion to ban Rus­sia’s en­tire team from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro – re­jected by the IOC – con­tin­ues to roil the wa­ters and will hang over to­day’s dis­cus­sions.

A re­port by WADA in­ves­ti­ga­tor Richard McLaren de­tailed state-sup­ported dop­ing and cover-ups across dozens of win­ter and sum­mer Olympic

sports in Rus­sia. It also backed al­le­ga­tions by Moscow’s for­mer lab direc­tor that dop­ing sam­ples of Rus­sian ath­letes were ma­nip­u­lated dur­ing the 2014 Win­ter Games in Sochi.

The IOC turned down WADA’s call to im­pose an out­right ban on Rus­sia from the Rio Games. The IOC de­ferred to in­di­vid­ual in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions, and about 270 Rus­sian ath­letes wound up com­pet­ing in Rio. Bach said the de­ci­sion was made in the name of “jus­tice” to pre­vent clean ath­letes from be­ing pun­ished for the vi­o­la­tions of oth­ers.

The In­sti­tute of Na­tional An­ti­Dop­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tions said Thurs­day the IOC “lost the an­ti­dop­ing bat­tle” be­fore the Rio Games, declar­ing: “The IOC failed the clean ath­letes of the world.”

Some have sug­gested that WADA be re­struc­tured or re­placed. But Reedie and oth­ers be­lieve the agency should be strength­ened with greater fund­ing and more pow­ers to in­ves­ti­gate, mon­i­tor com­pli­ance and ap­ply sanc­tions.

Bach has pro­posed the cre­ation of an in­de­pen­dent body – un­der WADA’s um­brella – to carry out global drug test­ing, mak­ing the sys­tem more in­de­pen­dent by tak­ing it out of the hands of sports fed­er­a­tions. He said the body should be op­er­a­tional be­fore the Pyeongchang Games.

In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach (left) talks with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.


Rus­sia’s Anna Chicherova. On Thurs­day, Chicherova was stripped of the bronze medal she won in the women’s high jump at the 2008 Olympics in a dop­ing case.

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