WADA says new court ruling can reopen Russian doping cases | Olympic Games



By GRAHAM DUNBAR – AP Sportswriter

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A groundbreaking court ruling in Russia’s doping saga is expected to lead Olympic sports bodies to re-examine evidence for possible disciplinary charges against other athletes, the World Anti-Doping Agency said Saturday.

Three Russian canoeists, including a 2012 Olympic champion, were suspended on Friday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for their role in a state-sponsored doping program eight years ago.

WADA prosecuted the case using evidence received from a Moscow lab that had been manipulated and retained by the Russian authorities for several years.

WADA has also provided lab data from Moscow to around 40 other sports bodies since 2019 and now wants some of them to look into these cases after the evidence has been withheld in court.

“It sets a precedent. If they have the same type of evidence, they should sue,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli told The Associated Press on Saturday.

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He spoke on the sidelines of an annual WADA conference where the Moscow lab case was described as “the largest and most complex investigation in world sport” that has cost millions of dollars. dollars.

WADA questioned the commitment of some governing bodies to investigate Russian athletes, who have mostly retired.

The latest cases were only decided by CAS after WADA appealed the International Canoe Federation’s refusal to prosecute using the evidence provided.

Niggli suggested “there might be one or two” Olympic sports that should reopen cases against Russian athletes.

Russia’s doping program led to widespread cheating at the 2012 London Olympics and a notorious sample-swapping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games to cover up doping with anabolic steroids.

The years-long program relied on Moscow testing lab staff working with state authorities to conceal positive drug tests and manipulate data entered into the global anti-doping system.

The AMA asked Russia to hand over a clean version of the Moscow database in 2018 in an attempt to close the scandal. The Russian falsification of data led to a CAS decision that banned the team name, flag and anthem from the Tokyo Olympics last year and Beijing Winter Games in February.

In the boating cases, only the CAS verdict was handed down on Friday. The judges’ detailed reasons detailing what evidence was persuasive are expected to be released within weeks.

This pending document should help other sports decide how to pursue their own cases, Niggli said.

In other Russian issues discussed on Saturday, WADA said reliable testing of athletes was continuing despite fallout from the country’s war with Ukraine. Russian athletes are also banned by most sports from competing abroad where they could be tested.

Anti-doping officials in Russia are still able to ship samples to Turkey and elsewhere for testing, and transfer money to pay labs for work, Niggli said.

The most high-profile current Russian doping case involves figure skater Kamila Valieva, who tested positive for a banned heart medication late in the Beijing Olympics. She was cleared to skate as the favorite for the gold medal, but an error-filled program dropped her to fourth place.

Niggli said a target date of early August for Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA to complete its investigation is “not a hard deadline”. There are procedural reasons why it sometimes takes longer.

The Russian verdict can be challenged before CAS by WADA if they are not satisfied with the decision or the integrity of the investigation.

More AP sports coverage from Europe: https://apnews.com/hub/sports-europe and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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