Russia facing 2018 Games ban over drug scandal denial
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.