WADA athletes body seeks Russia ban over missed deadline

Thursday, January 03, 2019

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Montreal, Canada (AFP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Athletes Committee yesterday demanded Russia be hit with new sanctions over its failure to meet a crucial deadline to hand over data from its drug-tainted Moscow laboratory.

In a statement posted on WADA's website, the agency's committee representing athletes challenged the organisation to declare the Russians non-compliant following the missed deadline.

“We are extremely disappointed that the December 31 deadline imposed on Russia by WADA has not been adhered to by the Russian authorities,” the statement read.

“We now expect that following the process recommended by the CRC (Compliance Review Committee) that Russia will be declared non-compliant. Only this action will be suitable and appropriate in the view of the athletes.

“Anything less will be considered a failure by WADA to act on behalf of clean athletes.”

WADA is set to consider the next step in the long-running saga at a January 14-15 meeting.

The end-of-year deadline was set in September, when WADA lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports after a report which uncovered a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia.

WADA personnel travelled to Russia in December but were unable to extract all of the promised data.

WADA said at the time its team could not complete its mission “due to an issue raised by the Russian authorities that the team's equipment to be used for the data extraction was required to be certified under Russian law”.

WADA's leadership has been strongly criticised over its decision to lift Russia's suspension before obtaining access to the information sought from its Moscow laboratory, which is expected to shed light on the extent of Russian cheating spanning several years and including multiple major championships.

On Tuesday, United States Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart said Russia's failure to adhere to the deadline should come as no surprise.

“No one is surprised this deadline was ignored and it's time for WADA to stop being played by the Russians, and immediately declare them non-compliant for failing yet again to meet the deadline,” Tygart warned.

Last month, the governing body of world athletics (IAAF) said they were maintaining Russia's ban from track and field over the state-backed doping controversy.

Russia's athletics team was barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and also missed the IAAF World Championships in London a year later.

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