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Tuesday 05, Sep 2017

  Meldonium Crisis Contributes To 26.4 Percent Increase In Doping Cases

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Annual report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revealed that 26.4 per cent increase in positive doping cases was recorded for 2016 in comparison with similar data for 2015, although this was partly because of the addition of Meldonium as a banned substance.

A total of 4,814 adverse analytical findings (AAFs) were recorded for 2016 in comparison with 3,809 for the previous year. The latter figure included 497 failures for Meldonium, which is a substance only prohibited from January 1, 2016.

A detailed testing report is likely to be published in the fourth quarter of this year.

Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and swimmer Yulia Efimova were among some of the top Russian and Eastern European stars who failed anti-doping tests for Meldonium. Sharapova and many others claimed they were not aware Meldonium was added to the list of banned substances. A big majority of these athletes have now made a return to competition after it was conceded by the World Anti-Doping Agency that “more research was required” to find out how long the substance remains in the human body. WADA was heavily criticized for the ways in which it first banned the substance and then moderated its attitude to the substance.

The World Anti-Doping Agency even made it a point not to directly respond to the criticism it received from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other sporting bodies for the way it handled the Russian doping scandal. The response of WADA was justified in a joint opening message by its President Sir Craig Reedie and director general Olivier Niggli.

Reedie and Niggli wrote the Russian doping scandal was one of the most destabilizing incidents for sports in recent memory. They also wrote it has taxed the resources of many of our stakeholders; in particular, it was extremely demanding for the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Federations (IFs) many of which are still managing the fallout. It was further added that WADA has been shoulder to shoulder with our partners and also remarked we have been doing our utmost to support them with their results management and to help them determine if there is sufficient evidence to pursue anti-doping rule violations for their athletes or support personnel.

     Sir Craig and Niggli concluded the World Anti-Doping Agency for 17 years has led the charge against doping in sport in an ever changing and complex environment. They added we are proud of the work that has been accomplished by the WADA team, with limited resources – always striving to meet and exceed the expectations set by our partners in the clean sport community. It was also added that we believe that we have been successful in our mission and also remarked that our goal is to ensure that the clean athlete prevails.

The WADA Annual report listed 10 priorities for the future that include the development of a stronger code compliance system, including “graded and proportionate” sanctions for non-compliant organizations. The priorities included generating more income and strengthening laboratories and the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) system and improved education and scientific research.

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Friday 03, Feb 2017

  IAAF President Was ‘Aware’ Of Russian Doping

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An email published on Tuesday by the culture, media, and sport committee from British athletics has hinted out that Sebastian Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, might have misled British lawmakers concerning the Russian doping scandal.

The world athletics chief told a House of Commons committee in December 2015 that he was “not aware” of specific allegations of corruption in Russian athletics until a German documentary in December 2014. However, the recently-released emails suggest Coe had knowledge of the corruption and doping scandal four months before they became public.

Coe, a member of Britain’s unelected House of Lords, was asked by MPs to re-appear before the committee following evidence from former athlete David Bedford that appeared to contradict that of Coe.

Sebastian Coe, the Olympic 1500 meters champion at both the 1980 and 1984 Games in Moscow and Los Angeles, has agreed to two requests to make public correspondence he had with Michael Beloff, the chairman of the IAAF ethics commission, and a leading English lawyer.

Former athlete and administrator Dave Bedford, a former 10,000 meters world record holder, had told the committee that he had sent Sebastian Coe, who was then the vice president of the IAAF, an email with an attachment in August 2014 which contained an explosive allegation. It was claimed by Andrei Baranov, the agent of Russian marathon runner Shobukhova, that she had been blackmailed by Russian and IAAF officials including Papa Massata Diack, the then IAAF president Lamine Diack’s son, to the tune of 450,000 euros (£356,000) over a failed dope test.

Former London Marathon race director David Bedford, in his evidence to the select committee in December, expressed surprise and disappointment that Coe who became president of the IAAF in August 2015, said he had not opened the attachments.

In the latest emails to surface, Coe wrote to Michael Beloff, chair of the IAAF ethics commission dated August 2014 reads that Coe has in the last couple of days received copied documentation of serious allegations being made by and on behalf of the Russian female athlete Shobukhova from David Bedford.

The contents of the email were revealed hours before Nick Davies, the then IAAF deputy secretary under Coe, was expelled from the IAAF over allegations that he was one of three officials who took money to delay naming Russian cheats.

Coe emailed Beloff to say he had received copied documentation of serious allegations being made by and on behalf of the Russian female athlete Shobukhova from David Bedford. Coe then asked Beloff whether he should forward the documents and stated that the purpose of this note is of course to advise you that he had now been made aware of the allegations and Beloff asked Coe to forward the documents.

However, Coe has maintained that he never opened the attachment and sent it on instead to the ethics commission of the world governing body of athletics. Coe also said he first came to know about the doping and corruption allegations in a German documentary in December 2014. Coe argued that the “allegations” referred to were already widely known as Shobukhova was issued with a high profile ban from athletics only four months before the correspondence.

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Monday 05, Dec 2016

  Boycott Of Sochi Championships Sought By US Skeleton Athletes

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The New York Times has reported U.S. skeleton athletes are thinking about boycotting the World Championships in Sochi next year as protest at the Russian doping scandal.

The newspaper, referring to matters about doping control, information security, and personal safety, said memos have been distributed by athletes. In the memo, they have called for a boycott of the Skeleton and Bobsled championships in the Southern Russian resort where the 2014 Winter Olympics was held.

The New York Times reported further added that memos of the skeleton athletes showed they had support of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) that is undertaking to hold the 2024 Summer Games in Los Angeles. However, the USOC remarked it did not support “blanket boycotts”. USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the U.S. Olympic Committee supports rights of athletes to choose when and where they compete. The spokesman added we support their right to choose not to compete and added the USOC does not, and will not, support blanket boycotts of any event.

Kyle Tress, an American skeleton racer, said it was time athletes made a stand. Tress remarked this has been passed down the line from the very highest level of sport, and now it is fallen into the lap of athletes. The American skeleton racer added there is tremendous support to skip this event, and said he thinks it is the right decision. Tress also remarked there is politics and money and sponsors involved, but this is an opportunity to come out in favor of clean sport.

U.S. Olympic skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender said the fact that nothing has been done about the Sochi scandal and the fact that we are still going to race there as it doesn’t make us feel secure, or that they’re taking the situation seriously.

The Times reported Tress and other members of his sport’s athlete advisory committee recently voted unanimously to endorse a boycott. They are likely to push through with the sanction if the competition was not moved outside of Russia.

A WADA-commissioned report this year described how Russia that lavished some $50 billion on the Games and finished top of the medals table managed to smuggle positive samples from athletes in a clandestine night-time operation out of a laboratory through a hole drilled in the wall, and then replaced with clean samples. The report further revealed that Russia operated a state-sponsored doping program for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports. It was disclosed this doping program was “planned and operated” from late 2011 including the build-up to London 2012 Olympics and continued through the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics until August 2015.

Many Russian athletes have been stripped of their medals this year because of doping offences at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics but so far none from Sochi. Many anti-doping advocates believes the upcoming December 9 publication of the second investigative report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren will lead to further disciplinary action by the International Olympic Committee.

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Tuesday 15, Nov 2016

  Reedie Backed By IOC For New 3-Year WADA Term

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The International Olympic Committee is supporting the candidature of current World Anti-Doping Agency President Craig Reedie for a new three-year term as WADA president, despite the tensions that broke out between the two sides over the Russian doping scandal.

This was after Reedie suggested that WADA will refrain in the future from publicly calling for a nation to be barred from the Olympics, as the anti-doping agency did with Russia before the games in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC’s support for WADA to continue in his role came after he assured the International Olympic Committee that he would respect the rules and responsibilities of WADA and its stakeholders.

Before Rio Olympics, WADA recommended to the IOC to exclude the entire Russian contingent. This proposal was rejected by the IOC that instead let international sports federations decide which athletes should be eligible to compete. IOC members accused WADA of failing to act sooner on Russian doping and also blamed the agency for releasing the McLaren report so close to the games. The IOC and WADA appeared to have buried the hatchet last month at an Olympic summit in Lausanne, where IOC leaders backed WADA to continue to oversee worldwide anti-doping efforts.

Reedie, a Briton who has been WADA president since 2013, is up for re-election at agency meetings in Glasgow, Scotland. No other candidate has been put forward till now. The IOC backed Reedie’s bid in a letter to all of its 98 members. This letter was sent following a private meeting of the IOC executive board on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland and Reedie briefed the board at that meeting.

The IOC letter reads that Sir Craig Reedie committed to respect the Olympic Charter and respect the rules and responsibilities of WADA and its stakeholders, including the catalogue of points put forward by the Olympic Movement three years ago. It also stated that the IOC on this basis will encourage the Olympic Movement representatives on the WADA foundation board to approve the re-election of Sir Craig Reedie as WADA President, as well as inviting them to speak to their government counterparts concerning a reform of the system for electing the WADA President. The letter also reads that the board has agreed to a request from Reedie to match government contributions and provide $500,000 US to the agency’s special investigations fund. The IOC said this was on condition that the World Anti-Doping Agency President would provide a detailed breakdown of costs of the upcoming final report of Richard McLaren and that McLaren “actively co-operates” with two separate IOC investigations into Russian doping.

A WADA president is elected for three years under current rules and has the option of a second three-year term. The presidency rotates between representatives of governments and sporting bodies.

Reedie has been accused by critics of having a conflict of interest in his IOC and WADA roles. Reedie was an IOC vice-president and member of the rule-making executive board until the Rio Games but he is now a regular IOC member without a policy-making role after expiry of his term as vice-president and board member.

Reedie Backed By IOC For New 3-Year WADA Term

Sunday 17, Jan 2016

  Vladimir Putin May Have Consulted On Doping

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According to a new report on the Russian doping scandal, the leader of International Association of Athletics Federations told a lawyer that he had to cut a deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The purported deal was to ensure that nine athletes from Russia who were accused of doping would not compete at the 2013 world championships in Moscow.

The report fully highlights the extent of doping cover-ups and blackmailing of athletes by IAAF officials. It also demonstrates that the IAAF was fully aware of doping by Russian and other athletes but decided to stay quiet. It is widely believed by many that details of the 89-page investigation that was expected to be released by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday would shock the world of athletics again. Written by WADA’s first president, Dick Pound, the report says the world governing body of athletics must emphasize on restructuring for ensuring corruption cannot go unchecked. The former WADA Chief wrote the corruption cannot be blamed on a small number of miscreants and went on to add that it was embedded in the organization.

The report says the corruption cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting himself. This report by Pound comes a day after Associated Press released details from six years of internal emails, notes, and reports of the IAAF that revealed a high level of communication between the IAAF and Russian officials about suspicious test results from Russian athletes, including cover-up plans to hide doping evidence.

The report, in addition to the deal-making friendship forged between Vladimir Putin and then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, disclosed a dramatic increase from $6 million to $25 million for Russian rights to televise the 2013 worlds provided by a Russian bank. This report also revealed details about a lawyer who was handpicked by Lamine Diack, the former IAAF President, for handling cases of Russian athletes even though he had little experience with anti-doping measures. All this suggests that there was no way that IAAF Council members, which included the present IAAF President Sebastian Coe, could have been unaware of the extent of doping and non-enforcement of the rules in track.

The report by Pound said Diack explained to IAAF lawyer Huw Roberts that he was in a difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship. The report said none of the nine athletes eventually competed in Moscow and their cases were not pursued further by the International Association of Athletics Federations and those delays resulted in the resignation of Roberts in January 2014. Roberts had virtually no control over cases involving Russians by then.

Diack turned over responsibility to his personal lawyer, Habib Cisse, in November 2011 for Russian cases involving biological passport blood tests. The lawyer is presently under investigation by French police for corruption along with Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine, who has been banned for life by the IAAF. The report also said Papa Massata and another of Diack’s sons, Khalil, had IAAF jobs outside the official framework of the IAAF that set them up to execute all the fraud.

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