Russian doping: Wada gets new intelligence around state-sponsored programme

Hassan Nasrallah

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has been given intelligence which it hopes will provide proof of systematic Russian state-sponsored doping.

Last year, a report commissioned by Wada found evidence Russia operated a programme from late 2011 until August 2015 across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports.

Now Wada has what it believes is a copy of a Moscow anti-doping laboratory’s database, which it claims corroborates the testimony of Russian whistleblower Gregory Rodchenkov.

The allegations of the man who was director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during Sochi 2014 – including that he doped athletes at the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Winter Games – led to the landmark McLaren reports.

Two International Olympic Committee (IOC) commissions have been investigating the findings themselves, with a decision on sanctions due early next month.

With Wada’s Foundation Board likely to conclude that Russia remains non-complaint next week, the IOC will have to rule on a punishment on 5 December.

Russian track and field athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics last year, despite the Russian Olympic Committee appealing against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

However, 271 Russians were granted permission to compete as neutrals.

In September, Russia’s Olympic chief said he expected to have a team at 2018 Winter Olympics, which take place from 9-25 February in South Korea.

Why were Russian athletes banned?

Russia was suspended from track and field events by the IAAF in November 2015 following the publication of the independent Wada report.

Sports minister Vitaly Mutko apologised for Russia’s failure to catch the cheats, but stopped short of admitting the scandal had been state-sponsored.

However, the McLaren report contained more damaging allegations and suggested senior figures in Russia’s sports ministry were complicit in an organised cover-up.

The report implicated the majority of Olympic sports in the cover-up and claimed that Russian secret service agents were involved in swapping positive urine samples for clean ones.

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