Russia’s redemption campaign hit by lingering doping doubts

Russia is struggling to get a foothold back into sporting respectability and WADA head said that it's a long way from meeting global standards on banned drugs.

By: AFP | London | Updated: November 22, 2016 2:44 pm
russiaioc_reuters-m Russia is suspended by WADA, IAAF, and under an intense spotlight in other sports. (Source: Reuters)

Russia is struggling to get a foothold back into sporting respectability and the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency says it is a “long way” from meeting global standards on banned drugs.

With a world athletics championships looming in London in 2017, the disclosure Monday of another Russian gold medal doping failure from the 2012 London Olympics has again hit Russia’s case for a return.

Yuliya Zaripova, who won the 3,000 metres steeplechase in London, was revealed by the International Olympic Committee as having tested positive for the steroid turinabol. Two silver medal winning weightlifters from Russia were also caught in new analyses of their samples.

A new report by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigator Richard McLaren to be released on December 9 could increase the problems.

Russia’s case — tainted by an inquiry which alleged state-sponsored doping — and how to reform the international anti-doping regime dominated a meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last weekend.

Russia is suspended by WADA, the International Association of Athletic Associations (IAAF), and under an intense spotlight in other sports.

Vladimir Smirnov, a former Russian sports minister who heads the country’s anti-doping commission, denied there was any government involvement.

But Dick Pound, head of WADA from 1999 to 2007, said however that Russia had to come clean and “recognise the problems” in doping.

WADA president Craig Reedie, who was reelected to another three year mandate in Glasgow on Sunday, said that Russia was heading “in the right direction” but was still mired in doping doubts.

Redemption and denial

“There were very clear breaches of the rules before. And while I am keen that they become compliant they have to become compliant under the rules. We can’t just say that’s fine we think you are better at it,” Reedie told AFP in an interview.

“There is still quite a long way to go: access to samples in the laboratory, closed cities, education, testing capacity, we really have to train doping control officers — so there is much to be done. But it is all underway.”