WADA dismayed as Yelena retains key doping job
MOSCOW: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expressed dismay on Friday after one of its leading critics, pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva, was reappointed to chair the Russian Anti-Doping Agency board.
Yelena was first appointed as chair in December and given a new term on Thursday. Her main task will be to persuade WADA to lift the suspension it gave RUSADA in 2015 over allegations its staff covered up doping.
However, relations with WADA are frayed after Yelena repeatedly criticised the organisation, framed doping allegations as an anti-Russian plot, and called for a leading whistleblower to be banned for life.
WADA said Yelena’s appointment “is not consistent with the roadmap established by WADA” for RUSADA’s reinstatement.
“Whilst it is the decision of the Russian authorities to elect its board members, the agency shall be passing this information on to its independent compliance review committee for their review.”
Yelena missed the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of a ban on the Russian athletics team over widespread doping, something she denounced as a “human rights violation.”
She said on Thursday she wants to use the RUSADA leadership to “defend our athletes” in similar cases, in comments to state news agency Tass, but has also said she’ll follow a WADA-led program of reforms.
RUSADA announced on Friday it was seeking to appoint a new CEO to replace Anna Antseliovich, who has served as acting chief executive during the suspension.
The focus is on finding someone to lead RUSADA when its authority to collect samples is restored.