Over 1,000 Russian ath­letes ben­e­fited from con­spir­acy

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON:

More than 1,000 Russian ath­letes com­pet­ing in sum­mer, win­ter and par­a­lytic sport were in­volved in or ben­e­fited from an in­sti­tu­tional con­spir­acy to con­ceal positive dop­ing tests, an in­de­pen­dent WADA re­port said yes­ter­day. The sec­ond and fi­nal part of the re­port for the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency by Cana­dian sports lawyer Richard McLaren pro­vided more de­tails of an elab­o­rate state-spon­sored dop­ing scheme op­er­ated by Rus­sia.

It said there was a sys­tem­atic cover-up, which was re­fined at the 2012 Olympics, 2013 world ath­let­ics cham­pi­onships and 2014 Sochi Win­ter Olympics, and that more than 30 sports, in­clud­ing soc­cer, were in­volved in con­ceal­ing positive dop­ing sam­ples. "We are now able to con­firm a cover up that dates back un­til at least 2011 and continued af­ter the Sochi Olym­pic Games. It was a cover up that evolved from un­con­trolled chaos to an in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized and dis­ci­plined medal-win­ning con­spir­acy," McLaren told a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

"It was a cover-up of an un­prece­dented scale and the sec­ond part of this re­port shows the ev­i­dence that in­creases the num­ber of ath­letes in­volved as well as the scope of the con­spir­acy and cover up. "We have ev­i­dence re­veal­ing that more than 500 positive re­sults were re­ported as neg­a­tive, in­clud­ing well-known and elitelevel ath­letes, who had their positive re­sults au­to­mat­i­cally fal­si­fied." McLaren said Rus­sia won 24 gold, 26 sil­ver and 32 bronze medals at Lon­don 2012 and no Russian ath­lete tested positive. "Yet the Russian team cor­rupted the Lon­don Games on an un­prece­dented scale, the ex­tent of which will prob­a­bly never be fully es­tab­lished," he said.

"The desire to win medals su­per­seded their col­lec­tive moral and eth­i­cal com­pass and Olym­pic val­ues of fair play. "For years in­ter­na­tional sports com­pe­ti­tions have un­know­ingly been hi­jacked by the Rus­sians. Coaches and ath­letes have been play­ing on an un­even field." The re­port said a urine sam­ple-swap­ping tech­nique used at Sochi be­came reg­u­lar prac­tice at the Moscow lab­o­ra­tory that dealt with elite ath­letes. It added that four Sochi gold medal­ists had sam­ples with phys­i­o­log­i­cally im­pos­si­ble salt read­ings, while 12 Russian Sochi medal­ists had ev­i­dence of tam­per­ing with the bot­tles con­tain­ing their urine sam­ples.

The re­port de­tailed how a clean urine bank ex­isted in the Moscow lab­o­ra­tory, where salt and cof­fee were added to clean sam­ples to try to fool of­fi­cials test­ing "B sam­ples" in sup­pos­edly tam­per-proof bot­tles. The re­port in­cluded ev­i­dence of DNA mis­matches, where a tam­pered B sam­ple did not match the DNA of pre­vi­ous spec­i­mens and cases of sam­ple swap­ping be­tween male and fe­male ath­letes. The In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) said in a state­ment that 53 per­cent of the ath­letes whose de­tails had been shared with them by McLean's in­ves­ti­ga­tion team had been sanc­tioned or were cur­rently un­der­go­ing dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings.

The In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee (IPC) said the full find­ings of the re­port were un­prece­dented and as­ton­ish­ing. "They strike right at the heart of the in­tegrity and ethics of sport," Par­a­lympic sport's gov­ern­ing body said in a state­ment. Ye­lena Is­in­bayeva, the twice Olym­pic pole vault cham­pion and now a Russian an­tidop­ing of­fi­cial, how­ever, said it was un­fair to sin­gle out Rus­sia for crit­i­cism. "If we want to clean up world sport, let's start," she said. "We don't need to con­cen­trate on just one coun­try. I think ban­ning clean Russian sports­men is im­prac­ti­cal and un­fair."

The orig­i­nal McLaren re­port, re­leased in July, re­vealed wide­spread state-spon­sored dop­ing in Russian sport. The July re­port found Moscow had con­cealed hundreds of positive dop­ing tests in many sports ahead of the Sochi Games and led to a par­tial ban of Russian ath­letes com­pet­ing in the Rio Olympics in Au­gust. Al­though Russian track and field ath­letes and weightlifters were banned from com­pet­ing at Rio, the In­ter­na­tional Olym­pic Com­mit­tee re­jected a blan­ket ban and let in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions de­cide which ath­letes should be el­i­gi­ble to com­pete. — Reuters

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