WADA Recommends Russian Suspension

UPDATE: Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Phil Jones, has spoken firmly in the wake of the release of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission Report.

“The contents of the WADA Independent Commission Report into allegations of doping in athletics is disturbing and Athletics Australia welcome the swift response by the newly elected IAAF Council and their President, Lord Sebastian Coe, to start the process of considering sanctions against the Russian Athletics Federation.

“We reiterate our absolute stance against doping in sport and implore the IAAF to take all actions necessary to deliver a level playing field for all athletes. Circumstances like those alleged in this Report must not be allowed to continue.

“Athletics Australia also applauds the Report for recommending further investigation by WADA into the doping case of, amongst others, Sergey Kirdyapkin.

“It has always seemed extraordinary to us that as a result of doping infractions Mr. Kirdyapkin was banned from competition before and after the 2012 Olympic Games, but eligible to race in London. It is our opinion that Jared Tallent is the rightful gold medallist in the men’s 50km walk. We expect action to ensure that this matter is resolved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport as soon as possible.

“Athletics Australia remains very disappointed in the choice of venue for the 2016 IAAF World Race Walking Teams Championships and following the release of this Report calls into question the location of 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships.

“Understanding the allegations made prior to the release and within this Report, we encourage the IAAF Council to consider if the Russian Athletics Federation are appropriate hosts. Athletics Australia advise that we will support any athlete who wishes to boycott the events unless the venue is changed.

“We will provide further comment on the contents of the WADA Independent Commission Report after we have had the opportunity to appropriately consider the contents in full.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency announced on Monday their recommendation for the IAAF to suspend Russia from all international track and field competition as they presented findings of systematic doping and cover-ups this afternoon in Geneva.

The report found that the Russian Federation fostered a “deeply rooted culture of cheating,” that was “worse than we thought,” according to former WADA president Dick Pound, who headed the nearly year-long investigation. Their work found that Russia had taken part in “state-sponsored doping,” said Pound, who is seeking the nation be suspended from competition.

The commission was prompted back in December of 2014 when the German broadcasting group ARDalleged that former Chicago Marathon champion Liliya Shobuhova had paid the Russian Athletics Federation $550,000 to cover up her positive doping result. Today, the WADA commission released its 323-page report at a press conference in the Swiss city, calling for swift action from track and field’s governing body to suspend the maligned country from all competition as Russia has been “non-compliant” with the global anti-doping code. The report recommends that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not accept entries from the Russian federation until they are proven to be compliant, which could ultimately keep their athletes out of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

“For 2016 our recommendation is that the Russian Federation be suspended, in fact one of our hopes is that they will volunteer that, so that they can take the remedial work in time to make sure that Russian athletes can compete under a new framework if you like,” Pound said.

In the wake of the investigation, WADA is seeking lifetime bans for five Russian coaches and athletes, including the gold and bronze-medal winners in the women’s 800 meters at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Mariya Savinova and Ekaterina Poistogova, respectively. The commission today said that the London Olympics were “sabotaged” by the inaction of the Russian Federation and the IAAF to stop suspicious athletes from competing in the Games.

Included in their recommendation for a lifetime ban is Moscow’s testing director Grigory Rodchenkov, who “personally instructed and authorized” 1,417 doping control samples to be destroyed so that they couldn’t be taken in for evidence in the investigation. Rodchenkov told investigators upon their arrival in Moscow that he decided to “do some clean up to prepare for WADA’s visit.”

The director’s action “obliterated forever the attempt to determine if there was any evidence of athletes having clean and dirty ‘A’ samples at the Moscow laboratory,” the report said. The commission wants to strip accredidation from the testing lab and fire Rodchenkov, as he is “an aider and abettor of the doping activiites,” according to the report.

The WADA report also implicates Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko for being heavily involved in the athletics cover-up, as “it was not possible for him to be unaware of it,” Pound said. The report alleges that the Russian government was instrumental in the cover-up, and that Mutko, who is organizing the 2018 World Cup, ordered samples to be manipulated. Mutko has denied the allegations.

Pound credited whistleblowers for providing the necessary evidence to expose Russia’s mass corruption.

At the request of WADA, Interpol will now begin an investigation into widespread doping in track and field.

In response to the findings, IAAF president Sebastian Coe will seek approval from the IAAF council to “consider sanctions against the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF),” the statement read.

“The information in WADA’s Independent Commissions Report is alarming,” Coe said. “I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against ARAF…We will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport. The IAAF will continue to offer the police authorities our full cooperation into their ongoing investigation.”

Pound today voiced his support for Coe, saying that he was the right man to lead the IAAF in these dark times.

It’s been a tumultuous week for the IAAF, as the arrests of former IAAF president Lamine Diack, Coe’s predecessor, Diack’s legal advisor Habib Cisse and IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle on charges of accepting bribes from Russia to cover up positive doping tests continue to bring a firestorm of criticism for the governing body. Coe called the actions “abhorrent” over the weekend, but questions remain as to how much the IAAF veteran may have known about the scandal.

The IAAF’s offices in Monaco were raided last week after the arrests were made in France, with Coe volunteering himself for questioning from the French authorities.

United State Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart applauded WADA’s investigation, stating that “the evidence released today demonstrates a shocking level of corruption, and sends a clear message to Russia that they will not be allowed to cheat the world’s athletes and escape justice behind a wall of deception and lies,” the statement read. “We will continue to fight on behalf of all clean athletes to ensure that clear and decisive action is taken to sweep out anyone who has been involved with this scheme,” he said.

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Lachlan Rayner
Lachlan is the Founder of Athletics Exclusive. His athletic background is basically made up of distance running, who competes in a range of events, varying from the 400m up to 3000m.

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