Russia will discover on Tuesday whether they are to face fresh sanctions over December’s missed deadline to allow World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigators access to the Moscow laboratory at the epicentre of the state-sponsored doping scandal.
WADA will meet via conference call to discuss recommendations on the compliance of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA).
This is the latest chapter in an affair that surfaced with Richard McLaren’s July 2016 report detailing doping in Russia from 2011 to 2015 involving more than 1,000 athletes across more than 30 sports.
The Canadian lawyer’s damning revelations led to Russia’s athletics team being barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and Russian competitors exiled from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
WADA had conditionally lifted a ban on RUSADA in September, with one of the conditions being the granting of access to thousands of samples at the tainted Moscow lab by the end of 2018.
But when a WADA team arrived last month, Russian authorities raised issues with the certification of their equipment under Russian law.
WADA officials finally gained access two weeks later and last week confirmed they had “successfully retrieved” all the data, leading the body’s president Craig Reedie to declare “a major breakthrough for clean sport”.
‘Up to 600 potential new cases’
For some like former WADA chief Dick Pound the fact that a deadline was missed was “not the end of the world” as “the real objective in all of this was to get access to the lab and the data”.
But WADA’s critics, like US anti-doping boss Travis Tygart, have slammed the agency’s handling of the process as “a total joke” and an “embarrassment”.
“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,” he said.
IAAF clears 42 Russian athletes to compete as neutrals
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said Monday it had cleared 42 Russian athletes to return to international events, albeit competing under a neutral banner and not representing Russia.
Athletics’ governing body banned Russia in November 2015 because of evidence of state-sponsored doping, but Russian athletes cleared by the IAAF can compete as neutrals.
“The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 42 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2019,” the IAAF said on Monday.