Coven­try hails ban lift on Rus­sia

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Sikhum­buzo Moyo

YOUTH, Sport, Arts and Re­cre­ation Min­is­ter Kirsty Coven­try has hailed the de­ci­sion by the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) to lift sanc­tions im­posed on the Rus­sian Anti-Dop­ing Agency (RU­SADA). Coven­try, who is also chair­per­son of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee Ath­letes Com­mis­sion, said the de­ci­sion would al­low for greater trans­parency through in­creased test­ing and ac­cess to their labs and data by De­cem­ber. “I be­lieve our man­date is to pro­tect all clean ath­letes and I be­lieve there are clean Rus­sian ath­letes. Blan­ket pu­n­ish­ment is un­fair to those who com­pete cleanly and even if there is only one clean Rus­sian ath­lete, that ath­lete has the right to be pro­tected. As­sum­ing that ev­ery Rus­sian ath­lete cheats is sim­ply un­just,” said Coven­try.

Coven­try, who won swim­ming gold for Zim­babwe at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, said lift­ing of the ban will al­low WADA to get the data nec­es­sary to pros­e­cute ath­letes that take per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drugs.

The com­mis­sion she chairs is de­signed to be the ath­letes’ link in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process of the Olympic body.

The ban on RU­SADA was lifted last Thurs­day, al­though the change will have no im­me­di­ate ef­fect on cur­rent bans on the Rus­sian fed­er­a­tions for ath­let­ics, weightlift­ing and Par­a­lympics.

WADA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers ap­proved a lesser ver­sion of the ban and set an­other “clear time­line” for im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­di­tions for the ban to be lifted on the af­fected fed­er­a­tions.

“These pro­cesses and strict dead­lines need to be ad­hered to by RU­SADA so the clean Rus­sian ath­letes are given the chance they de­serve and a level play­ing field is se­cured for ev­ery­one,” said Coven­try.

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