Dop­ing sys­tem im­posed on Rus­sia is not ef­fec­tive

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The drugs test­ing sys­tem im­posed on Rus­sia fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions of wide­spread dop­ing is in­ef­fi­cient and the coun­try must be part of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process to bat­tle the prob­lem, Rus­sia’s out­go­ing Olympic Com­mit­tee (ROC) chief has said. Alexan­der Zhukov said in a speech re­leased yes­ter­day that while dop­ing was a prob­lem in Rus­sia there was no such thing as a state-backed dop­ing sys­tem, which the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) said it had un­cov­ered in the coun­try.

“There is no state-sup­ported dop­ing pro­gramme in sport in Rus­sia and it has never ex­isted,” Zhukov told the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) in Lausanne.

The WADA-com­mis­sioned re­ports, in­clud­ing one by Cana­dian lawyer Richard McLaren, re­vealed wide­spread state-spon­sored dop­ing in Rus­sian sport.

WADA also al­leged that Rus­sian testers had helped lo­cal ath­letes at the Sochi 2014 Win­ter Olympics by chang­ing drugs-tainted sam­ples for clean ones with the aid of the se­cret ser­vice to give their com­peti­tors an ad­van­tage.

The re­sults trig­gered a ban on all but one Rus­sian track and field ath­lete at the Rio de Janeiro Games in Au­gust and wide­spread calls for a blan­ket ban on all ath­letes un­til the coun­try could prove it had a clean drug-test­ing sys­tem.

Zhukov said Rus­sia needed a stronger pres­ence within WADA and that the sus­pended anti-dop­ing au­thor­ity RUSADA had to be in charge of test­ing again. WADA wanted a blan­ket ban on Rus­sian ath­letes in Rio but the IOC al­lowed more than 270 Rus­sians to com­pete at the Games.

With RUSADA sus­pended, for­eign testers have been put in charge of sam­ple col­lec­tion and test­ing in the coun­try.

How­ever, Zhukov said this was in­ef­fec­tive, claim­ing the limited num­ber of testers were un­able to process enough sam­ples.

“How is WADA plan­ning to solve this when, even right now, they say that the UK Anti-Dop­ing Agency, which is en­trusted with all the pow­ers, can hardly man­age to an­a­lyse 6000 sam­ples, let alone a larger quan­tity which is re­quired for us?”

Rus­sia and WADA have been at odds through­out the scan­dal with the lat­ter blam­ing Rus­sian hack­ers for leak­ing the de­tails of ther­a­peu­tic use ex­emp­tions (TUEs), which al­low ath­letes with med­i­cal con­di­tions to take other­wise banned sub­stances.

The TUE de­tails re­lat­ing to sev­eral high pro­file ath­letes, in­clud­ing Bri­tain’s Tour de France cycling cham­pi­ons Chris Froome and Bradley Wig­gins and ten­nis grand slam win­ners Ser­ena Wil­liams and Rafa Nadal, were leaked in Septem­ber.

Zhukov said rules re­gard­ing TUEs should change with too many ath­letes re­quest­ing them. “It is pure non­sense when ath­letes with se­ri­ous, at times even chronic, ill­nesses be­come Olympic cham­pi­ons and medal­lists by tak­ing sub­stances which are pro­hib­ited for other ath­letes,” Zhukov said.

“It hap­pens with in­creas­ing fre­quency and be­comes com­mon prac­tice. Soon, healthy ath­letes at com­pe­ti­tions will be­come an ex­cep­tion. Should we re­ally ac­cept this?” Zhukov is leav­ing the ROC to fo­cus on his other job as first deputy speaker in the lower house of the Rus­sian par­lia­ment. —Reuters

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