(ATR) The Director General of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency makes a personal plea to Russian President Vladimir Putin to give the World Anti-Doping Agency what it wants.
Russia has until Monday to do so, or the country faces being redeclared non-compliant by WADA.
Earlier this year WADA reversed course and declared Russia conditionally compliant and offered a compromise for the final two conditions of its roadmap for reinstating the country.
One of the conditions was for Russia to turn over Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab so that international sport bodies could punish athletes who were part of the state-sponsored doping scheme. If the data was not delivered by Dec. 31, then WADA would once again review Russia’s compliance.
A WADA team visited the Moscow lab earlier this month, but was not able to gather all of the needed data. WADA blamed the failure to complete its mission on Russian authorities requiring that the team’s equipment to be used for the data extraction be certified under Russian law. The WADA Compliance Commission will meet on January 14 to discuss next steps.
RUSADA Director General Yuri Ganus penned a personal plea to Putin, posted on the RUSADA website, calling for a swift release of the necessary data to WADA authorities.
“As Director General of RUSADA, as a citizen of Russia, I express my concern not so much about the possible loss of RUSADA status of compliance, as about the consequences following failure to comply with the conditions for the return of the world anti-doping code compliance status, when our athletes will be suspended from participation in all international competitions, when we lose the right to hold international competitions on the territory of Russia, when we lose the right to participate in the management of international sports organizations (including our native sports),” Ganus said in his plea.
“We are at the edge of the abyss, and I ask You to protect the present and future of our fair sport, present and future generations of athletes.”
This year Russia was stripped from competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics under its own flag by the IOC. The ban continued through the Games after two Russian curlers failed a drug test during the Olympics.
However, the IOC quickly moved to reinstate the suspended Russian Olympic Committee, with President Thomas Bach vigorously defending the decision in his final Olympic press conference.
Ganus’ appeal to Putin directly will not go unnoticed by the independent investigators into the Russian doping scheme, which concluded the systematic manipulation went to the top of the Russian government. Following the IOC’s Schmid and Oswald Commission, which investigated claims by WADA’s independent investigator Richard McLaren, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was banned from Olympic sport. Mutko is appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The International Association of Athletics Federations decided to maintain the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) earlier this month. The IAAF says that RusAF still has not completed its roadmap to compliance. That means Russian athletics athletes must once again apply to compete under neutral status for the 2019 season.
If Russia is redeclared non-compliant it could mean the Tokyo Olympics may become the third straight Games affected by the scandal. Both Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 had numerous suspensions of Russian athletes and legal challenges, which created confusion of eligibility on the eve of each Games. Qualifying for Tokyo 2020 is already underway.
“This situation can last no more, it requires urgent resolution,” Ganus said.
“Russia deserves to be fully represented in the international sports arena, we need victories in sports, victories that no one will take away from us.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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