Olympic lead­ers be­gin sum­mit on global anti-dop­ing sys­tem

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Olympic sports lead­ers have be­gun de­bat­ing how to im­prove a global anti-dop­ing sys­tem amid the fall­out of a Rus­sian state-backed cheat­ing scan­dal.

A closed-doors meet­ing chaired by IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach was dis­cussing Sat­ur­day the role of the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency, which an­gered many Olympic of­fi­cials by calling for Rus­sia to be banned from the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Olympic lead­ers have long fa­vored tak­ing con­trol of drug test­ing from sports fed­er­a­tions, though WADA’s pos­si­ble role in a newly in­de­pen­dent sys­tem has been ques­tioned since it ap­pointed two in­ves­ti­ga­tions that de­tailed Rus­sian dop­ing and cover-ups.

Del­e­gates in­cluded the In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee’s pres­i­dent, Philip Craven, who suc­cess­fully ex­cluded Rus­sia from the Par­a­lympic Games in Rio.

Craven said he ex­pected the meet­ing would be more about co­op­er­a­tion than con­fronta­tion, af­ter IOC and anti-dop­ing of­fi­cials pub­licly traded strong views ahead of the sum­mit.

“Sport has to come to­gether and I think it will,” Craven told re­porters as he went into an ex­pected four-hour ses­sion at the IOC’s fa­vorite five-star ho­tel in Lau­sanne.

The meet­ing was sched­uled de­spite the fi­nal re­port of the sec­ond WADA in­ves­ti­ga­tion panel, led by Cana­dian lawyer Richard McLaren, not be­ing due un­til at least late-Oc­to­ber.

McLaren’s in­terim re­port in July pro­voked calls for Rus­sia’s ex­pul­sion from the Rio Games - which Bach re­sisted and his fi­nal doc­u­ment should go into more de­tail of how a WADA-ac­cred­ited lab­o­ra­tory ma­nip­u­lated home ath­letes’ tainted sam­ples at the 2014 Sochi Win­ter Games.

Cau­tion was a com­mon theme of of­fi­cials ar­riv­ing Sat­ur­day, in­clud­ing FIFA Pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino and Olympic power­bro­ker Sheik Ah­mad al-Fa­had al-Sabah of Kuwait, leader of the global group of na­tional Olympic bod­ies.

“Let’s see,” Sheikh Ah­mad said when asked what the ses­sion could achieve. “We will fol­low the agenda.”

WADA lead­ers will meet likely with the full McLaren re­port in hand - on Novem­ber 19-20 in Glas­gow, Scot­land.

Gen­eral view of the meet­ing room at the open­ing of an Olympic Sum­mit yes­ter­day in Lau­sanne, Switzer­land

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