WADA welcomes more London 2012 Russian bans as RUSAF questions Rodchenkov evidence
The World Anti-Doping Agency has welcomed a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold bans for 12 more Russian athletes based on information contained in the controversial McLaren report into the doping scandal in the country in recent years.
CAS concluded that the track and field athletes who included the London 2012 Olympic Games high jump gold medallist Ivan Ukhov, “participated in and/or benefited from anabolic steroid doping programs and benefited from specific protective methods” between 2012 and 2013.
The ruling means that a record number of over 120 London 2012 athletes have failed doping tests, compared with the previous high of 86 at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
WADA said: “CAS found that the violations were committed as part of a centralized doping scheme and these rulings confirm an earlier CAS decision in the case of another Russian athlete, Anna Pyatykh, which was also brought forward by the AIU based on McLaren evidence in 2017.”
Some of the evidence in the McLaren report was collected by the independent Athletics Integrity Unit, which was set up by the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, in 2017. The AIU said in a statement: “It needs to be noted that some of these cases were fought solely on the basis of the McLaren evidence, while others were combined with analytical evidence gathered through re-testing. It is very encouraging for us and gives us the possibility to pursue more cases in the future.”
However, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of RUSAF, the Russian athletics federation, reacted with apparent scepticism to the decisions, telling Tass: “So far, the decision has been made by the first instance authority which, as far as I know, made it on the basis of Rodchenkov’s testimony. Now we need to wait for the substantive part [of the court’s decision], after which we will think what to do.”
Russian authorities have been unwilling to accept evidence provided by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow lab.
Olivier Niggli, WADA’s director general, said: “These decisions come as welcome news for athletes, anti-doping organizations, WADA and all others around the world who care about clean sport. This should serve to reassure athletes that a lot of work is being conducted behind the scenes by various organizations that are committed to ensure that justice is rendered. It reinforces the importance of ensuring that due process is followed and that evidence is carefully presented.”
Niggli added: “This highlights also, once again, just how important the successful retrieval of the analytical data from the former Moscow Laboratory by WADA last month is for clean sport and reinforces the decision taken by the WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) on 20 September 2018 to reinstate as compliant the Russian Anti-Doping Agency under strict conditions, including access to the data.
“This large amount of data, which would not have been retrieved without that September ExCo decision, is currently being verified and assessed and, if found to be authentic, will be used to bring forward more cases against those who cheated.”
WADA came under heavy fire from critics over its decision not to suspend RUSADA, the Russian anti-doping agency, after an initial deadline for allowing WADA inspectors access to the Moscow lab was missed.