WADA clears 95 Rus­sian ath­letes of dop­ing charges

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) is set to clear 95 Rus­sian ath­letes in­ves­ti­gated over in­volve­ment in the coun­try’s al­leged mam­moth dop­ing pro­gramme, the New York Times re­ported yes­ter­day.

A leaked in­ter­nal WADA re­port pub­lished by the news­pa­per Tues­day said the agency found it could not gather enough ev­i­dence against 95 out of 96 Rus­sian ath­letes who it has been prob­ing. “The avail­able ev­i­dence was in­suf­fi­cient to sup­port the as­ser­tion of an an­ti­dop­ing rule vi­o­la­tion against th­ese 95 ath­letes,” WADA Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Olivier Nig­gli wrote in the doc­u­ment. The re­port did not name any of the ath­letes un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A string of WADA re­ports has pre­vi­ously un­cov­ered reams of ev­i­dence that the Rus­sian author­i­ties ran a large-scale pro­gramme to help com­peti­tors cheat in­ter­na­tional dop­ing tests. Rus­sia’s Anti-Dop­ing Agency (RUSADA) was de­clared “non-com­pli­ant” with in­ter­na­tional sport’s anti-dop­ing code in Novem­ber 2015 and its track and field Olympics squad and en­tire Par­a­lympics team were barred from Rio 2016. An in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion for the agency by pro­fes­sor Richard McLaren in 2016 im­pli­cated some 1,000 ath­letes in the dop­ing sys­tem. Moscow has fu­ri­ously de­nied that it ran a state-spon­sored scheme to cheat at in­ter­na­tional sport­ing events and in­sists it is do­ing its best to crack down on dop­ers.

And Rus­sian of­fi­cials said WADA’s de­ci­sion only served to shed doubt on the rev­e­la­tions in McLaren’s re­port. “In gen­eral the in­for­ma­tion of the McLaren re­port ap­pears to be in­com­plete and more­over in many cases un­re­li­able,” R-Sport agency quoted Stanislav Pozd­nyakov, the deputy chief of Rus­sia’s Olympic Com­mit­tee, as say­ing. “For the moment none of Rus­sia’s 1,000 ath­letes men­tioned in the McLaren re­port has been found guilty or banned on the ba­sis of his in­for­ma­tion. Mean­while, a year has al­ready passed (since the re­port was is­sued).”While this lat­est twist may help bol­ster the Krem­lin’s claims, Nig­gli sug­gested to the New York Times that an ab­sence of ev­i­dence did not nec­es­sar­ily prove Rus­sia’s in­no­cence.

“The sys­tem was very well-or­ga­nized,” Nig­gli said. “On top if it, years af­ter the fact, the re­main­ing ev­i­dence is of­ten very lim­ited.” Nig­gli said that in­veti­ga­tions into other ath­letes im­pli­cated in the dop­ing scheme are on­go­ing. Rus­sia’s anti-dop­ing agency RUSADA is cur­rently bat­tling to get it­self re­in­stated, but faces a list of re­main­ing WADA cri­te­ria that it must first meet. — AFP

IS­TAN­BUL: Greece’s Ioan­nis Bourousis dunks the ball dur­ing their Eurobas­ket Euro­pean Bas­ket­ball Cham­pi­onship quar­ter-fi­nal match against Rus­sia, in Is­tan­bul, yes­ter­day. — AP

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