Dop­ing agency de­nies try­ing to bully ath­letes’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

LON­DON: The World Anti-Dop­ing Agency de­nied on Fri­day that it had dis­re­spected or at­tempted to bully ath­letes’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive Beckie Scott dur­ing a de­bate in which ten­sions were “run­ning high” over a de­ci­sion to re­in­state Rus­sia’s anti-dop­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Scott, chair of the WADA Ath­lete Com­mit­tee, said in an in­ter­view with the BBC that she was “treated with dis­re­spect” and faced “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” com­ments and ges­tures from the WADA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee for her op­po­si­tion to Rus­sia’s re­in­state­ment dur­ing a Septem­ber meet­ing.

WADA de­nied that it had mis­treated Scott, say­ing the at­mo­sphere at the meet­ing was the prod­uct of “strong and di­ver­gent views.” “Fol­low­ing some re­marks made by Ms Scott at the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing last month, there was dis­cus­sion among the mem­bers on a num­ber of dif­fer­ent top­ics and it is fair to say that dur­ing this stage of the meet­ing, ten­sions were run­ning high lead­ing to com­ments from all sides that re­flected the strong views held,” WADA said in a state­ment sent to Reuters.

Scott, an Olympic gold medal win­ner for Canada in cross­coun­try ski­ing, felt that the tone of the meet­ing was more dis­mis­sive than in­clu­sive, ar­gu­ing that WADA had lit­tle in­ter­est in hear­ing from ath­letes or their con­cerns.

“This be­hav­ior will never be ac­cept­able. Time to show lead­er­ship,” said WADA Vice Pres­i­dent Linda Hel­le­land, who op­posed Rus­sia’s re­in­state­ment. “Time to un­der­stand one of the rea­sons WHY WADA Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee ex­ists: To re­spect and pro­tect the ath­letes. And lis­ten to their views. It should be no place for bul­lies!” she said.

Rus­sia’s Anti-Dop­ing Agency (RUSADA) was sus­pended in Novem­ber 2015, af­ter an in­de­pen­dent WADA re­port car­ried out by Cana­dian lawyer Richard McLaren out­lined ev­i­dence of state-backed, sys­tem­atic dop­ing and cover-ups in Rus­sian sport. WADA laid out a road map to com­pli­ance, but on Sept. 20 re­in­stated RUSADA without Rus­sia hav­ing fully met two con­di­tions: rec­og­niz­ing the find­ings of the McLaren Re­port and al­low­ing ac­cess to stored urine sam­ples at its Moscow lab. —Reuters

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