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Thursday 07, Sep 2017

  RUSADA Reinstatement Issues Resolved, Says Mutko

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Vitaly Mutko, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, has claimed that “almost all” of the issues blocking the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency have been resolved.

Mutko, the country’s former Sports Minister, made this comment after the recent appointment of Yury Ganus as the new director general of RUSADA on August 31.

Since 2015, RUSADA has been suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency after evidence emerged through a WADA Independent Commission Report that Russia was behind a state-sponsored doping program. The country was barred from taking part in the track and field events at last year’s Olympic Games. Russia was also barred from taking part in the Paralympic Games at Rio 2016. The country is now likely to miss the miss the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang in February.

A roadmap for the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency has been drawn up by the World Anti-Doping Agency but the body has not yet met all of the necessary criteria.

Mutko however expressed a different view. The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia said almost all the issues concerning the road-map have been resolved. Mutko added it is being implemented and also commented there is going to be an audit in September, and another one ahead of the WADA Foundation Board’s meeting. He went on to say that it will be a waste of money if the membership is not restored.

Mutko added there were as many as 700 candidates for director general, WADA picked six out of them. The 53-year-old Ganus was chosen in a vote by the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian Paralympic Committee. Mutko added the RUSADA Supervisory Board, set up in accordance with WADA’s recommendations, chose one of those six people and added we will hold a meeting with him as soon as the newly appointed director general settles into his new job. The Russian Deputy PM also said we have granted full independence to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and added WADA in fact has been managing the organization. Mutko also said two independent experts have been active whose work is paid by WADA.

The “Road-map to Code Compliance“, a document that was published by the World Anti-Doping Agency is that the Russian Government through the Ministry of Sport must “publicly accept the reported outcomes” of the Richard McLaren Report. The two editions of McLaren report claimed a sample manipulation scheme at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics at Russia. The report also claimed more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in a state-sponsored program. The McLaren report included testimony from former chief of the Russian anti-doping lab who claimed he prepared and provided a cocktail of anabolic steroids and other banned substances to athletes under a state-sponsored doping scheme.

Under WADA requirements, the Supervisory Board of RUSADA must select a new director general via a transparent, external, and objective application and recruitment process that is overseen by two international experts. In addition to this, the Russian Government is required to provide uninterrupted access for international authorities to store urine samples in the Moscow Laboratory that is presently sealed off because of a Federal investigation.

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Sunday 11, Dec 2016

  USA And Germany Lead Calls To Permanently Ban Russia From International Sporting Events

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The United States and Germany led calls for Russia to be exiled from international competition. The countries demanded that no international sporting events should be held in Russia until its anti-doping program is fully code compliant. This was after Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren submitted a report in which it was revealed that doping in sport in the country represented an “institutional conspiracy”.

McLaren remarked more than 1,000 athletes in the summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive testing. Te report prepared for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) also disclosed that drug test samples at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 were even manipulated by the addition of salt and coffee.

Travis Tygart, the head of the US anti-doping body (USADA), said it is another staggering example of how the Olympic movement has been corrupted and clean athletes robbed by Russia’s state-supported doping system. Tygart added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to act and clean athletes won’t be satisfied until WADA is empowered to be a truly independent global regulator and the Russian Olympic Committee is suspended until deemed code compliant. The USADA chief also remarked that no international sporting events should be held in Russia until its anti-doping program is fully code compliant and all the individuals who participated in the corruption are held accountable.

Clemens Prokop, the president of the German Athletics Federation (DLV), urged for a complete ban on all Russian competitors. The DLV President said Russian sport should be excluded from all international competitions, including the Olympic Games, until its credibility is restored. Prokop added this is fundamental attack against the Olympic movement when the values of the movement are dragged through the mud by a country. He further commented that measures taken must be up to the mark and added the credibility of the IOC is at stake.

The IOC commented it would re-analyze all 254 samples it has from Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It added it had had extended the second inquiry to cover the 2012 London Olympics in addition to two disciplinary inquiries into Russian sport and doping at the 2014 Olympics.

In a statement, the Russian sports ministry said it with full responsibility states there are no government programs to support doping in sport. The statement further reads that it will continue the fight against doping with zero tolerance and carefully study the information contained in the report with the aim of coming up with a constructive position.

UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, called the McLaren report hugely significant for sport. Sapstead remarked 2016 has also shown that whilst athletes are held to account under the World Anti-Doping Code every day of the year, when it comes to a country demonstrating a disregard for the rules, the same sort of sanctions do not apply.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which banned Russia completely from the Rio Paralympics in September, termed findings of McLaren “astonishing”. In a statement, the IPC said the full findings of the report are unprecedented and astonishing and added they strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: USA And Germany Lead Calls To Permanently Ban Russia From International Sporting Events

Tuesday 30, Aug 2016

  Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Games Over Doping

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended Russia, which was already suspended from next month’s Rio Paralympics, for the winter edition in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018 because of a state-sponsored sports doping program.

The latest punishment handed out by the IPC was announced by the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) on Tuesday. The RPC said on its website the decision taken by the IPC, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian Paralympians being excluded from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has also been extended to include the Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

A few days back, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest tribunal, rejected an appeal by the RPC against the Rio ban. Russia has already appealed against the CAS ruling to the Swiss Federal Court and a result is expected soon. The Federal Court can only overturn the decision by CAS on the basis of a procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.

The IPC decision to exclude the team of Russia means at least 260 competitors from the country are now set to miss the September 7-18 Paralympics.

The president of the IPC, Sir Philip Craven, remarked after the ban on Russia was announced for the Rio Games that he hopes the ban will act as a catalyst for change in Russia. Craven remarked after the CAS endorsed its ban on Russia Paralympians that we are greatly encouraged that the CAS panel has upheld the IPC governing board’s unanimous decision to hold the Russian Paralympic Committee accountable for its membership responsibilities and obligations. The IPC President added the CAS decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.

A few days back, Moscow acknowledged mistakes it had made in tackling sports doping. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Paralympic ban cynical and immoral and remarked the decision to bar Russian athletes, including those who had not tested positive for any banned substances, was a vivid manifestation of how the humanistic foundations of sport and Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics. Putin went on to add that the decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law, outside morality and outside humanity. The Russian head of state also remarked it is simply cynical to vent one’s anger on those for whom sport has become the meaning of their life and also commented that he even feels pity for those taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is so demeaning for them.

David Weir, Great Britain’s leading wheelchair athlete, extended his support behind decision of the IPC to exclude Russia from the Rio 2016 Paralympics. The 10-time Paralympic medalist, who won four gold medals at London 2012, said the IPC decision is a bold step, but a right one in the wake of widespread evidence of a State-sponsored doping program.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Games Over Doping

Sunday 31, Jul 2016

  Russia Never Engaged In State-Backed Doping, Says New Russian Anti-Doping Chief

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Vitaly Smirnov, member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and chief of Russia’s newly-created doping watchdog, has rejected allegations of Russia having a doping program at the state level.

Smirnov also vowed to create a totally transparent anti-doping mechanism and remarked Russia is determined to achieve an absolutely transparent doping control system but expects the same from other countries as well. The chief of Russia’s newly-created doping watchdog said our task is to create an absolutely transparent system and we are ready to invite any experts but we expect the same system to be formed everywhere. Smirnov also commented that Russian anti-doping policies should be handed over to the Health Ministry and it would not ask the government for money, in order to ensure its independence. Smirnov also said we are counting on the necessary and modest subsidies from the Olympic committee.

The new Russian anti-doping commission head previously served as the minister of sport of the Russian Federation from 1981 to 1990 and was a full member of the IOC from 1971 to 2015.

Smirnov went on to remark he would meet Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren (at the Rio Games) who recently submitted report that the Russian Sports Ministry actively participated in swapping samples at its laboratories in Moscow and Sochi. In the McLaren report, it was also claimed that Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia was involved in the alleged doping and cover-up scheme.

Russian Olympic Committee President Aleksandr Zhukov announced the creation of a public anti-doping commission headed by Smirnov the day the International Olympic Committee decided to allow Russian athletes to compete at the Rio Games and left the decision to ban Russian athletes to individual federations. While creating the commission, Zhukov welcomed the IOC’s decision not to impose a blanket ban forbidding all of Russia’s athletes from competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The Russian Olympic Committee President commented the IOC decision was rather a balanced decision and said the Executive Board of International Olympic Committee decided that clean Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games but added a number of steps must be queued out and a number of requirements must be met.

Zhukov also said these are at the same time very serious requirements and conditions regarding athletes from Russia. The ROC President said athletes from other countries with a doping record have not been banned from the Olympics, while Russian athletes with previous records have been effectively banned from the Games.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said we believe that the IOC decision is a positive decision, and we regard it positively. The spokesman added we definitely welcome the ultimate solution, which allows so-called ‘clean’ athletes to take part in the Olympics after an endorsement from international federations.

Russian Vladimir Putin called for the introduction of unified international standards for doping controls. Putin added Russia must show that it is fully committed to a clean and honest fight and that it is ready for a real partnership with the sporting world in its opposition to the use of doping.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Russia Never Engaged In State-Backed Doping, Says New Russian Anti-Doping Chief

Wednesday 18, May 2016

  Doping Sample Retesting Could Bar Dozens From Rio Olympics

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In a major doping crackdown, the International Olympic Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against 31 unidentified athletes from 12 countries who competed in the 2008 Beijing Games and were about to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.

The IOC made the announcement after retesting of drug samples from the 2008 Beijing Games. The IOC remarked the positive cases from the Beijing Games emerged from the recent retesting of 454 doping samples with the very latest scientific analysis methods. In a statement, the IOC said it would not immediately identify the athletes caught for legal reasons but would inform the relevant national Olympic committees in the coming days.

The International Olympic Committee added all those athletes infringing anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio. It also commented that retesting results of 250 samples from the London Olympics will be announced shortly and commented samples of athletes who would be promoted to medals following disqualification of drug cheats will also be retested.

The IOC urged the World Anti-Doping Agency to initiate a “fully-fledged investigation” into recent allegations that the Sochi drug-testing system was subverted by Russian officials.

IOC President Thomas Bach said this is a powerful strike against athletes who dope and added this shows once again that dopers have no place to hide. The International Olympic Committee is also planning to reanalyze drug tests from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games after allegations were made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory, that samples were tampered with as part of a state-sponsored Russian doping program.

Rodchenkov admitted he worked for many years at the direction of the government of Russia to assist top athletes of the country to use banned, performance-enhancing substances and go undetected. Rodchenkov said athletes of Russia had doped before the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games and throughout the course of the 2014 Sochi Games. Rodchenkov described an overnight operation in which he along with a small team had substituted tainted urine of Russian athletes for clear urine. The urine samples were stockpiled in the months leading to competition and later were passed on surreptitiously through a hole in the wall of the lab building. Rodchenkov later wrote a letter to WADA and the IOC and offer to guide investigators in their scrutiny of samples of Russian athletes from the Sochi Games to verify his account. Rodchenkov added the samples would show no traces of banned drugs but the table salt he added to the urine samples in question, to mask certain inconsistencies would be good to confirm his story.

The International Olympic Committee stores samples for a period of ten years to allow for retesting with improved techniques and athletes who are found guilty of doping face retroactive disqualification and loss of any medals. It remarked the Lausanne anti-doping lab and World Anti-Doping Agency would be asked to proceed with analyzing Sochi samples in the most sophisticated and efficient way possible. However, it is still not clear how many samples are still intact for reliable retesting.

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Saturday 19, Mar 2016

  Germany To Introduce Second Fund For Doping Victims

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The German government has given its consent for the creation of a second fund for paying compensation to athletes from the former East Germany who suffered health damages because of a secretive state-supported doping program.

The use of performance enhancing drugs until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 assisted East Germany to win hundreds of medals at the Winter and the Summer Olympic Games amid fierce Cold War competition with West Germany. It is widely believed that as many as 8000-9000 athletes were on the secretive state-supported doping program from 1972-1989 and an overwhelming majority had no knowledge.

The embrace of doping by the former East Germany triggered a dramatic improvement in results with the nation doubling its gold medal tally from one Olympics to the next. Despite a boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, East Germany won 384 medals in the Olympic Games from 1972 to 1988 and was second in the medals table in three of the four Games in which it took part.

In the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, East Germany triumphed with an impressive 40 gold medals. The performance of German swimming team was described by U.S. swimmer Wendy Boglioli as staggering. Boglioli remarked at that time they were very strong women, they were very fast and added we thought they were machines. The swimmer had remarked here we were, four of America’s best athletes ever put together on a team, and every single day the East German women were winning every, every event while referring to the East Germany’s swim team alone won 11 of 13 swim events, an unprecedented feat.

It was later revealed that East Germany’s elite sports federation that was headed by Manfred Ewald and monitored by the Ministry of State Security (known as Stasi) used a deceptive master plan for attaining international prestige through success in sports. Girls as young as 12 years were recruited from across the country and were regularly administered with untested steroids and male hormones as part of their training.

Many of the former athletes are now seriously ill and suffer from severe health complications such as circulation and spinal problems, tumors, heart defects, infertility, depression, and bulimia while many of them have died and others are left with no option but to see what health problems their children have inherited.

The German government remarked on Wednesday it had approved the drafting of a law for a one-off payment of 10,500 euros ($11,500) per eligible doping victim. The government added it expected many times more cases than the 194 beneficiaries of the first scheme in 2002. The German government paid out a similar amount to 194 athletes in 2002 but many athletes did not came forward, with many witnessing the effects of doping on their health only much later.

In a statement, German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere said today we take a step closer to our target of a renewal of the fund for GDR (East German) doping victims. Maiziere added given the difficult fate and bad health of many of the GDR doping victims speed is of essence.

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Wednesday 14, Aug 2013

  Doping Revelations Won’t Hurt My Chances, Says Bach

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Doping Revelations Won’t Hurt My Chances, Says Bach

IOC vice-president Thomas Bach believes the revelations of a government-backed doping program in West Germany in the 1970s will have no impact on his chances to become the next president of the International Olympic Committee.

Bach, who heads the national Olympic body of Germany, remarked he was personally behind the study that was published recently and disclosed a culture of doping among West German athletes for decades. The IOC presidential candidate said his IOC colleagues know that he himself initiated the study and they have known his zero-tolerance policy on doping since decades, especially as chairman of various disciplinary commissions and this is the reason why he doesn’t fear consequences for the election.

The President of Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund, the German National Olympic Committee, also remarked that Wrestling, axed from the 2020 Olympic program by the IOC, has a good chance of coming back after making sweeping changes. Bach said he has the impression that the international federation (FILA) has understood very well the messages sent to them and said he personally believes that wrestling has good chances to come through the vote in September.

A gold medal fencer in the 1970s, Bach is the favorite among the six candidates to succeed Rogge in the September 10 election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and other contenders are Sergei Bubka of Ukraine, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, Denis Oswald of Switzerland, Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, and C.K. Wu of Taiwan. Bach is hoping his credentials as an Olympic champion and IOC veteran would inspire confidence in his candidacy and said he is looking forward to the vote and as a sportsman he naturally wants to win the competition. The affable man has been an IOC member since 1991 and has the distinction of chairing the IOC juridical and anti-doping commissions besides negotiating broadcasting rights. He also recently headed Munich’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Bach’s remarks came after former long jumper Heidi Schueller said in an interview that Thomas Bach must have known more than he’s acknowledging now. Heidi was the first female athlete to give the Olympic oath, at the 1972 Games in Munich.

Bach recently remarked that he and his fencing teammates had heard “bits and pieces” about doping but they had always been clean. He went on to remark that he had favored a “zero tolerance” policy against doping and lifetime bans for offenders, even as an athlete. Bach went on to add that an independent commission had been set up for evaluating the report and making recommendations.

Clemens Prokop, president of the German athletics federation, said we have to call a spade a spade and remarked that was the only way to remove West German athletes from blanket doping suspicion.

In another development, an anti-doping law was called for by Bavarian justice minister Beate Merk who said sports federations were unable to systematically clear up and punish doping. He added that we have to act, we have to uncover, not cover up and we need an anti-doping law worthy of its name.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Doping Revelations Won’t Hurt My Chances, Says Bach

Tuesday 16, Oct 2012

  USADA Report Described How Lance Armstrong Played Safe

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USADA Report Described How Lance Armstrong Played Safe

The secret behind doping of Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist accused by the United States Anti-doping Agency of indulging into the use of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles, has been brought to the limelight by the agency’s latest report.

In its dossier against Armstrong, the USADA cited witness testimony, financial records, and laboratory results revealed that the cyclist was centrally involved in a sprawling, sophisticated doping program and made use of both cunning and farcical methods to beat cycling’s drug testing system. The US Anti-doping Agency even provided new evidence that Lance Armstrong was doping the last two times he competed in the Tour de France.

The agency asked Christopher J. Gore, the head of physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport, to analyze test results from thirty-eight samples of the cyclist between February 2009 and the end of last April. The samples taken during the 2009 and 2010 Tours showed blood values whose likelihood “of occurring naturally was less than one in a million,” and other indications of blood doping. Despite the fact that the analysis done by Gore was not a conventional anti-doping test, the agency concluded that the findings “build a compelling argument consistent with blood doping.”

The most basic technique outlined in the report was simply running away or hiding. USADA remarked “the adequacy of unannounced, no-notice testing taking place in the sport of cycling remains a concern.” It was even reported that the cyclist abruptly dropped out of one race after teammate George Hincapie warned Armstrong about drug testers at the team hotel through a text message. In an affidavit, Hincapie said Armstrong had just taken a solution containing olive oil and testosterone.

The report disclosed that one of Armstrong’s doctors “smuggled a bag of saline under his raincoat, getting it past the tester and administering saline to Armstrong before Armstrong was required to provide a blood sample.” This was done to restore blood values of Armstrong to a level that would not attract attention. It was also disclosed that Armstrong initially tried EPO as there was no test for it and later switched to blood transfusions, which was a technique initially without a test. The report said Dr. Michele Ferrari who was a central figure in the doping scheme found out that if regular, if small, doses of EPO were injected directly into veins rather than under the skin, Lance Armstrong and others could continue using the hormone without fear of a positive test result.

The drugs used by Armstrong and his teammates were generally supplied by José Marti who worked as a trainer for Armstrong’s United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, according to the report. Armstrong tested positive for a corticosteroid during the 1999 Tour but avoid a sanction after the team produced a backdated prescription from one of its doctors to suggest that the cyclist had received it in a cream used to treat a saddle sore, according to a former team employee.

USADA even revealed that the cyclist was tested only 60 times and not 500 to 600 times over 14 years, as claimed by the cyclist. The agency said International Cycling Union had tested him about 200 times but these tests were for a health program rather than for prohibited substances.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: USADA Report Described How Lance Armstrong Played Safe

Saturday 25, Dec 2010

  German athletes to sue a pharmaceuticals giant

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German athletes to sue a pharmaceuticals giantA big chunk of former East Germany athletes is planning to sue a pharmaceuticals giant over the damage they suffered under doping program of the country of the 1970s and 80s.

The 160 athletes – some of them only 10 at the time – are each claiming damages of 10,000 Euros from Jenapharm that produced the steroids on behalf of the East German government.

Professor Giselher Spitzer, a sports historian at Potsdam University who has studied the programme, said that the youngsters targeted in particular were ice skaters and gymnasts.