Rus­sia fac­ing 2018 Games ban over drug scan­dal de­nial

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Ben Rumsby

Rus­sia was on the brink of be­ing thrown out of the Win­ter Paralympics last night over its re­fusal to own up to the big­gest drugs scan­dal in his­tory.

Pres­sure was also mount­ing on the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee to ban the coun­try from Pyeong-Chang 2018 al­to­gether, af­ter the emer­gence of ev­i­dence cor­rob­o­rat­ing the find­ings of an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into its state-spon­sored dop­ing pro­gramme.

The foun­da­tion board of the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (Wada) meets on Thurs­day to de­cide whether to end the sus­pen­sion it im­posed on the Rus­sian Anti-Dop­ing Agency (Ru­sada) in 2015.

Declar­ing Ru­sada com­pli­ant with the Wada code is key to the In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee lift­ing the ban on Rus­sia com­pet­ing at the Win­ter Games.

One of the cri­te­ria for Ru­sada to be de­clared com­pli­ant is the coun­try ad­mit­ting to the find­ings of last year’s re­port into the scan­dal by Prof Richard McLaren. Rus­sia has re­fused to do so, with its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion last week re­fut­ing its se­cret ser­vice and sports min­istry had op­er­ated a sam­ple swap­ping scheme which sab­o­taged the last Win­ter Games in Sochi.

Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin even said ac­cu­sa­tions against Rus­sia were part of an at­tempt by the USA to in­ter­fere with its forth­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in re­venge for his na­tion’s per­ceived in­flu­ence in theirs.

New ev­i­dence sup­port­ing Prof McLaren’s re­port, 2012-2015 test data from Moscow’s anti-dop­ing lab, made a mock­ery of such claims and gave Rus­sia no choice but to come clean by Thurs­day or re­main banned.

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