Russia's reinstatement goes to vote

by

September 20, 2018
Yuri Ganus is the head of the Russian Anti-doping Agency. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, FILE)

MOSCOW (AP):

Should Russia be reinstated without publicly admitting wrongdoing for its state-sponsored doping scheme?

That question has caused ferocious infighting at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the watchdog body tasked with stopping any repeat of the widespread drug use and cover-ups which tarnished a sporting superpower.

WADA's board is due to vote on the issue Thursday in the Seychelles. If it votes yes, it might push world track and field body the IAAF to welcome back Russia too.

Russia's anti-doping agency, RUSADA, was suspended in November 2015 when a WADA report found top athletes could take banned drugs with near-impunity since RUSADA and the national laboratory would cover for them. Later investigations found evidence that dirty samples were switched for clean ones when Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

ANTI-DOPING FIGURES

The reinstatement of RUSADA is championed by WADA's president Craig Reedie, who has softened two key conditions for Russia, and the move has the tacit backing of the International Olympic Committee.

But despite a recommendation for reinstatement from a key WADA committee, it has provoked anger from other anti-doping figures who feel Russia can't be trusted to reform without accepting more of the blame.

Athletes on one of WADA's own commissions, Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov and the WADA vice president Linda Helleland, lead the opposition.

"I am afraid that by opting for the easiest way out, it will ultimately hurt WADA in the future," said Helleland, a Norwegian politician who is eyeing a bid to replace Reedie as the organisation's president.

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