Wednesday 16 October 2019

Russia could be exiled from competition over deleted drug tests

Subject to a likely battle at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, Russia could be banned globally from every sport that signs up to Wada's code. That would include the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the football World Cup in 2022. Photo: PA
Subject to a likely battle at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, Russia could be banned globally from every sport that signs up to Wada's code. That would include the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the football World Cup in 2022. Photo: PA

Tom Morgan and Ben Bloom

Russia is facing worldwide sporting exile after investigators confirmed the nation appears to have deleted positive drug tests in laboratory data sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Moscow-based agency Rusada was described by officials as needing to "pull a rabbit out of the hat" in three weeks to convince Wada not to reinstate sanctions, leaving the country's international sporting future in severe doubt.

Subject to a likely battle at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, Russia could be banned globally from every sport that signs up to Wada's code. That would include the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the football World Cup in 2022.

Yesterday, Wada formally warned Russia it was "robustly" investigating "inconsistencies" in data finally handed over in January to escape a previous drug ban.

Rare

In a rare acknowledgement of concern at the Kremlin, president of Russia's Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a statement: "We have spent vast diplomatic efforts to regain the trust of the international sports community. Now we again run the risk of facing sanctions for reasons with which we have nothing to do."

It was reported over the weekend how Russia could be declared non-compliant again, and that their participation at Tokyo 2020 was in doubt. Now, following a Wada meeting in Tokyo, Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the committee tasked with overseeing Russia's compliance, said: "There were positive findings that were deleted. The question is, why."

Taylor said the state needed to "pull a rabbit out of the hat" if it was to avoid new penalties. "We will give them a chance to explain," he said as the committee prepares to reconvene on October 23 to decide whether Russia should be deemed "non-compliant".

Wada's executive committee confirmed it had received a report from its compliance review committee updating it on the analysis of a huge handover of data from Moscow.

The International Association of Athletics Federations confirmed yesterday that Russia would miss the athletics World Championships for the second successive time after opting to extend the country's ban.

Meanwhile, the Athletics Integrity Unit is due to meet German television channel ZDF this week to receive material related to a documentary that alleged doping is widespread in Kenyan athletics.

Telegraph.co.uk

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