Sun, Dec 23, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Russia withholds lab data from WADA

‘SHIV IN THE BACK’:RUSADA said it was unable to provide the data because Russia required that its equipment be certified. It has until Dec. 31 to fulfill the requirement

AP, MOSCOW

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inspectors are to leave Moscow empty-handed after Russian authorities prevented them from accessing key doping data that the nation’s authorities had agreed to hand over.

WADA in September reinstated the suspended Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on the condition that Russian authorities hand over lab data, which could help confirm a number of violations uncovered during an investigation that revealed a state-sponsored doping program designed to win medals at the Sochi Olympics and other major events.

However, WADA on Friday said its delegation “was unable to complete its mission” because Russia unexpectedly demanded that its equipment be “certified under Russian law.”

WADA said the demand was not raised at earlier talks. The deadline to turn over the data is Dec. 31.

Team leader Toni Pascual is to prepare a report on the failed mission, WADA said.

The compliance review committee is to meet on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, where it could recommend that the ban on RUSADA be reimposed.

WADA kept open the option of returning to the lab before year’s end if Russia resolves the issue.

Russian Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov told local media that the WADA delegation would return, but there was no word on the date and no mention of the issue raised by WADA.

WADA leaders portrayed Russia’s willingness to turn over the data as a key reason for agreeing to reinstate RUSADA, despite its failure to comply with key requirements on the “road map” WADA had set out.

“We’ve tried to come to terms with the Russians on how this was to be done, and this is the first time since discussing it that they’ve actually said ‘yes,’” WADA director-general Olivier Niggli said in September in an impassioned defense of the decision. “We hope they’ll fulfill that promise.”

It was a widely criticized decision and the reaction to Friday’s news was predictable.

“Surprise, surprise — anyone shocked by this?” US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive officer Travis Tygart said. “Let’s hope WADA leadership has finally learned the lesson and immediately declares them noncompliant. Anything else is simply another shiv in the back of clean athletes.”

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