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  • Expert: World Athletics Gave "Keys to the Inmates" -- ATRadio


    (ATR) An expert with a background in anti-doping research tells Around the Rings tthe IAAF gave countries and member federations too much responsibility.

    Former IAAF president Lamine Diack (right) and Valentin Balakhnichev, president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (Getty Images)
    "It's really giving keys to the inmates," Lea Cleret, head of research, policy and education at the International Center for Sport Security (ICSS), says.

    "We're going to charge one particular country to run its own anti-doping programs.

    "What we don't seem to take into consideration is the fact that even though everybody agrees doping is a bad thing, nobody really wants to go through the pain barrier of sorting out the problem."

    She adds, "The IAAF knew it had a doping problem and it has known for a long time. Instead of confronting the problem head-on, it sort of tried to keep it under wraps for a long time."

    Cleret joins ATR in this edition of ATRadio to discuss a new report from an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    Released Thursday in Munich by chairman Richard Pound, the 95-page report details the shakedown that took place between Papa Massata Diack and associates that elicited nearly $1 million in bribes from athletes in Russia and Turkey to hide positive drug tests.

    Prior to joining the ICSS in Feb. 2015, Cleret worked with WADA for over a decade. During her time with the agency, she managed a research grant program aimed at understanding the behaviors of athletes who were accused of doping. Researchers would then use that info to develop effective prevention programs.

    Russian Olympian Mariya Savinova (front left) is facing an international competition ban. (Getty Images)
    "Times are very complicated right now for sport," Cleret tells ATR. "We have no reason to believe this is limited to Russia and athletics."

    Russian athletes now face a competition ban from this year's Olympic track and field events, in light of the WADA Independent Commission's findings.
    When asked how she feels about Russian athletes who did not cheat missing their chance go to the Rio Olympics, Cleret says it is important to uphold the rules of competition. "Of course it would be very, very sad for Russian athletes who haven’t been doping.

    "If you have a rule and you don't apply the [approved] sanction, when the rule is broken you're more or less saying that the rule has no value."

    If Russian athletes do take part in the Rio Games, Cleret tells ATR she thinks "it would send a very, very disheartening message" to other athletes competing at the 2016 Olympics.

    Click the SoundCloud link below for ATR's full interview with Lea Cleret.

    Written and produced by Nicole Bennett

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