United States anti-doping head denounces lifting of Russia ban

Friday, September 21, 2018

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The head of the US Anti-Doping Agency yesterday denounced the decision to lift the ban on Russia's anti-doping agency, calling it “bewildering and inexplicable”.

“Today marked the biggest decision in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s history, and it delivered a devastating blow to the world's clean athletes,” said Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency.

“By ripping up the very 'Roadmap' it created, WADA's decision to reinstate Russia despite the nation not having met the two remaining Roadmap conditions is bewildering and inexplicable,” Tygart said in a statement.

“WADA sent one clear message to the world: we put the wishes of a small handful of sports administrators above the rights of millions of clean athletes and the dreams of billions of sports fans,” he said.

WADA's decision to lift the ban on Russia's anti-doping agency, taken at a meeting of its executive committee in the Seychelles, paves the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports.

WADA president Craig Reedie said the move “provides a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples.”

He said that if the commitment was not met, WADA would reinstate the ban on the Russian anti-doping agency.

Tygart said WADA's move ran contrary to the demands of the world's “clean athletes” and showed the need for reform of the agency.

“The road to the new, stronger WADA must start now,” he said. “And let's be clear: absolutely nothing will be off the table for how we, the anti-doping community, begin the work of reforming WADA.”

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