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Thursday 09, Mar 2017

  Russia Doping Reforms Not Happening Quick, Says WADA Chief

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World Anti-Doping Agency director general Olivier Niggli has remarked that the anti-doping reforms of Russia are not happening quickly enough. Niggli said though the country is making changes but he is not pleased with the speed he would have liked to see.

Speaking at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference, Niggli said it is too early to comment whether Russia will be allowed to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The World Anti-Doping Agency director general said we are working with them to see if things can be put into place and a credible system be reinstated in Russia in the coming months. Niggli added we will see where they are when we get closer to the Games and added they still have a number of months to do the right thing. The WADA director general commented the ball is in their camp and they know what they have to do.

Niggli also added the World Anti-Doping Agency is considering a complete ban on corticosteroids. Presently, athletes are allowed to make use of the anti-inflammatory medicines out of competition and can even take them in competition if they can prove a medical need, called a ‘therapeutic use exemption’ (TUE).

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently admitted to some shortcoming in the anti-doping system of the country. Putin however denied any state-sponsored program of systematic doping and cheating. The country claims to have implemented a series of changes to address the “roadmap” laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency that will see it return to competition.

Last year, a WADA-commissioned McLaren report claimed that more than 1,000 Russians benefited from a state-sponsored doping program between 2011 and 2015. Several sports federations, including the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), have banned Russian athletes from international competition until the anti-doping efforts of the country have met requirements.

On the other hand, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opted not to enforce a total ban on Russia.

In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency added caffeine to its Monitoring Program for 2017. The addition means experts would now study whether athletes are using the substance “with the intent of enhancing performance.”

Caffeine can enhance speed and stamina. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently limits the consumption of caffeine for college athletes to 15 micrograms per milliliter, or roughly six to eight cups of coffee ingested two to three hours before a competition.

A report published by the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association states caffeine consumed at very high levels – 6-9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight – can cause gastrointestinal issues, nausea or shaking, as well as ‘overstimulation’ that can negatively impact training, sleep and performance.

Russian Federal Microbiological Agency chief Vladimir Uiba said Caffeine is currently on WADA’s waiting list of prohibited substances. Uiba added we will be forced to recommend everyone against drinking coffee as well as soft drinks containing caffeine if it eventually makes its way into the list of the prohibited substances. The Russian Federal Microbiological Agency chief added it can theoretically happen this year.

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Sunday 08, May 2016

  Sochi Doping Allegations Dismissed By Russia As ‘Speculation’

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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has remarked accusations that four gold medal winners from Russia at the Sochi Olympics made use of performance enhancing drugs are just “speculation.”

The allegations were made by former Russian anti-doping officer Vitaly Stepanov in an interview with “60 Minutes” due to air this Sunday. An excerpt was shown on Friday by “CBS Evening News.”

Stepanov said former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov told him intelligence officers of Russia assisted athletes of the country in covering up use of performance enhancing drugs. Stepanov also said Rodchenkov has a “Sochi list” of Russians who competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics on anabolic androgenic steroids, including at least four gold medal winners. Hosts Russia won 13 gold medals at Sochi.

A WADA independent commission report in November claimed Rodchenkov requested and accepted money to conceal positive drug tests after which he immediately resigned.

Reacting to the allegations, Russian Sports Minister said Stepanov is riding his hobby-horse again. Mutko added he will endlessly talk about doping in Russian sports and also commented this was in the German TV Channel ARD’s documentary entitled Geheimsache Doping – Secret Doping Case and appeared in later films. In the German documentary, Stepanov and his wife, banned athlete Yuliya Stepanova claimed systematic doping in Russian athletics in 2014. Their allegations were later supported by a report of the World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission that found evidence of “state-sponsored” doping and widespread corruption. The sports minister of Russia also remarked all his so-called revelations are based on speculations and are being actively distributed.

Mutko also said the Olympics in Sochi have ended a long time ago and also said not Russia collected doping tests then and everything was held under very strict control. The Moscow anti-doping lab operated on-site testing facilities at the Sochi Olympics although it was under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee. The Russian Sports Minister also said our athletes will have to perform at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It is obvious that someone wants to harm Russian sports. Mutko also said Stepanov has exhausted the topic of doping in athletics, now he has probably started with the Sochi Olympics.

In November, the International Association of Athletics Federations suspended Russia. An IAAF council meeting in June will decide if the track and field team of Russia can compete in the Rio Olympics in August. Russia now has to convince the IAAF, the world governing body of athletics, that it has put measures in place to show anti-doping operation improvement and a “change of culture.”

The Rio athletics program starts on August 12 but registration are required to be completed about a month before. This would leave little time for the vast majority of Russian athletes who would still need to record Olympic-standard qualifying times.

US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart said Russian athletics has not done enough to warrant reinstatement. Tygart added USADA is “not in favor” of Russian athletes competing in Rio Olympics.

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Saturday 02, Apr 2016

  Allegations Of Systemic Doping In Russian Swimming To Be Investigated By WADA

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will be investigating allegations of systematic doping in Russian swimming. The agency will soon examine the report that was commissioned by it and revealed systematic use of performance enhancing drugs in Russian athletics before it decides to widen the inquiry.

WADA is expected to look for corroborating evidence and find out whether there is new material involving Russian swimming before it determines the level of investigation. Craig Reedie, the WADA President, remarked there is no doubt that the disturbing assertions of orchestrated doping in Russian swimming should be scrutinized.

Reedie added WADA and its partners are under no illusions about the challenges facing sport’s integrity today and also remarked that clean athletes are justifiably concerned that their rights are being eroded through the minority that choose to dope in sport. The chief of WADA also remarked WADA, as a result of information and evidence collected, will make an informed decision as to what form of inquiry is needed and who will conduct it. The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed concerns following the allegations that arrive at a time when trust in clean sport is already in a perilous state.

A recent report in The Times alleged systemic doping was taking place in Russian swimming. Russian athletes were recently suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Track and field athletes of the country could miss Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

In another development, WADA has written to the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to express specific concerns about the alleged role of Sergei Portugalov, chief of the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) medical commission, who is facing sanctions after the independent report into athletics. In a statement, WADA said we are concerned by the allegations that Sergei Portugalov – who is currently facing a lifetime ban from working in athletics due to the commission’s findings – may be working in swimming. The statement further reads that it should be noted that, under the World Anti-Doping Code, such a lifetime sanction should also be recognized by all other international sport federations.

Meanwhile, FINA has called on The Times to share its evidence and insisted that the world governing body of athletics had taken steps for protecting its anti-doping procedures following the report into athletics. In a statement, FINA said it is not aware of any concrete evidence of systemic doping in Russian swimming and added that we have taken a particularly robust approach to our anti-doping procedures in relation to Russia and Russian competitions, in light of WADA’s recent investigation.

The FINA statement further reads that it issued a directive to ensure the continued integrity of the testing program. It was further added that the entirety of FINA’s unannounced out-of-competition doping control program in Russia is now conducted by a third-party, independent of FINA and the Russian anti-doping agency, the Swedish company IDTM. The governing body of swimming further said that all samples in 2016 will be analyzed overseas and noted that it is currently conducting target-testing for the 10 best-performing athletes in each event, with at least five tests before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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Wednesday 22, Apr 2015

  Russia’s Doping No Worse Than Europe, Says Sports Minister

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Russia’s Doping No Worse Than Europe, Says Sports Minister

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has remarked that the sports doping rate of the country is no worse than in other European countries. In a rare meeting with foreign reporters, Mutko said Russia has made a “colossal” effort to catch cheats by carrying out up to 20,000 tests a year.

Mutko said Russia has made really colossal efforts in fight against doping in the last five years and Russia has done so with WADA and with international federations and added it took some countries decades to do the same. The Russian minister also said international doping investigators now have free access to all Russian athletes and Russia has a new laboratory in Moscow that matches “really top international standards”. Mutko also commented independence of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was guaranteed by law. He went on to remark that the country has 9,000 international level athletes and many of them spend 70 percent of the year abroad where they undergo checks.

On the sidelines of the SportAccord convention in Sochi, Mutko said only two percent of our athletes are being caught doping and that is really a normal indicator just as in all other European countries. The Sports Minister added we are sure that Russia is a reliable partner in anti-doping and we have done and are going to do these activities in a very tough way.

In December, a German television documentary alleged widespread doping had been covered up, especially in athletics. The sports machine of Russia is under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the documentary. Meanwhile, the IAAF has initiated proceedings against Viktor Chegin, who has trained more than 20 athletes caught for doping in recent years and heads the Russian race-walking centre in Saransk.

New Russian athletics coach Yuri Borzakovsky defended controversial race walking coach Viktor Chegin who is presently under investigation by the IAAF as part of its probe into Russian doping. Borzakovsky said Chegin will remain on the Russian team until there’s an official piece of paper saying he’s accused of something or other.

Mutko raised doubts about the tests raised in the television documentary. The Sports minister said it looks like someone has kept them hidden somewhere and then under certain circumstances they have taken them out to confront us. Mutko insisted that his country has acted “in good faith” and many athletes and coaches received life bans even if they were star performers. He also said we are ready to invite foreign experts for each step of the anti-doping procedure even for several years to end all these doubts and claims made about our country so we can cooperate in good faith.

In another development, IAAF President Lamine Diack said Russia will not be barred from major athletics competitions due to allegations of systematic doping. The IAAF ethics commission and the World Anti-Doping Agency are presently investigating Russia over claims that Russian officials ran a sophisticated doping program. Diack said Russia is a great nation of athletics and compared the doping problem of Russia to the scandals in the United States in the 1990s. The IAAF President said Russia’s doping problem should be solved in a similar way with stricter enforcement by an independent agency.

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Wednesday 17, Dec 2014

  Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

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Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

An independent commission has been set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate allegations of widespread and systematic doping among Russian athletes.

The three-person WADA commission will be chaired by WADA’s former president Dick Pound and will also include lawyer Richard McLaren. A third member of the independent commission will be announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency at a later stage. WADA said the investigation will begin next month. The panel will seek to determine if there have been any World Anti-Doping Code violations by athletes, coaches, doctors, trainers, and WADA-accredited laboratories that may result in sanctions against individuals or organizations.

Pound, the outspoken Canadian IOC member, is entrusted with the task of investigation and comes with strong credentials. He led an internal probe of the International Olympic Committee into the Salt Lake City bid scandal that resulted in the resignation or expulsion of 10 members.

The International Association of Athletics Federations welcomed the appointment of the WADA panel. IAAF President Lamine Diack said The IAAF takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support of the WADA investigation and added our primary concern must always be to protect the integrity of competition in support of the vast majority of clean athletes, and we look forward to working with WADA to this end.

Earlier this month, a documentary broadcast by German television station ZDF/ARD disclosed Russian athletes and coaches admitting to covering up positive doping tests. The documentary claimed that 99 percent of Russian athletes are guilty of doping and it also alleged that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field, decided not to investigate 150 suspicious doping samples, including one from a British athlete.

In a statement, WADA confirmed the role of the Commission is to establish: if there have been any breaches of World Anti-Doping Code or International Standard processes or rules by signatories to the Code; if there have been any breaches of rules by WADA-accredited laboratories; if there have been any breaches of anti-doping rules by athletes and their entourage members (including coaches, trainers and doctors); and, to gather information and explore whether sufficient evidence exists that could lead to sanctions against any individual or organization under rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie remarked WADA is pleased that Richard Pound and Professor Richard McLaren have agreed to look into the grave doping allegations that came to light through the recent German television broadcasts. Reedie added the Independent Commission has the vital task of reviewing the allegations aired during the documentaries, as well as all other information received separately by WADA, to determine if there have been any violations to anti-doping rules. The WADA president also remarked once the investigation is concluded, if it is found that there have been violations or breaches of the rules, WADA will ensure that any individuals or organizations concerned are dealt with in an appropriate fashion under the World Anti-Doping Code. He also said the Commission will be given the resources it needs in order for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly, and so that, in turn, clean athletes across the world are reassured that the anti-doping system is working in their best interests.

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Wednesday 22, May 2013

  Athletes From East Germany Were ‘Chemical Field Tests’

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Athletes From East Germany Were ‘Chemical Field Tests’

The era of global dominance by East Germany was not something that athletes of the country are proud of. With the 30th anniversary of the first World Athletics Championships in Helsinki where athletes bedecked in the blue and white of the GDR won 22 medals, including 10 golds, testimonies from athletes of that era are pouring in.

Ines Geipel, a former world record holder in the women’s sprint relay, said we were a large experiment, a big chemical field test and the old men in the regime used these young girls for their sick ambition.

The depth and extremities of the systematic doping program on the eastern side of the bricks and barbed wire were exposed by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. A fearless campaigner who gained access to many files belonging to the Stasi, the secret police, and uncovered the sins of the past, said it originated for one reason that was national importance. Professor Werner Franke added that annually, about 2,000 athletes were added to the program and we know this very exactly because there have been many court cases with all the details. Franke added that the young athletes were around 12 or 13 and it was not just pills, injections also.

Geipel remembers reading about the system in place at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and said the secret police had built wooden crates, like rabbit crates, in hotel rooms. She added if they believed an athlete was going to flee – because the Games were in West Germany – they would put this athlete in the crate and carry them back to the GDR and she finds it so symbolic and we were objects, we weren’t people.

Geipel is now president of a group called Help for Victims of Doping and explained that her sadness and pain have been converted into action.

As many as 10,000 athletes, according to estimates, were part of the program and the drug of choice was Oral Turninabol, an anabolic steroid targeted particularly at young females because the effects were more dramatic, at a time when women’s sport internationally was under-developed and therefore ripe for domination.

In the year 2000, a lawsuit was filed by thirty-two women against the perpetrators and the court in Berlin heard tales of woe regarding hearts, livers, kidneys and reproductive organs, with mothers blaming the disability of their children on the wrecking ball of drugs.

Andreas Krieger, who represented East Germany as Heidi Krieger in the mid-1970s and underwent a sex-change operation two decades later and was one of the plaintiffs, said we had an economy lacking many things, like fruit, in our country and continued that so we were told we were taking vitamin pills that would compensate for our lack of nutrition and they played God with us back then.

The unified German government set up a compensation fund of £2.5m and the Berlin court case ended with suspended sentences for the head of the East German Sports Ministry, Manfred Ewald, and the chief doctor, Manfred Hoeppner. More than 300 athletes were each awarded around 10,000 euros (£8,500, $13,000).

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Thursday 17, Jan 2013

  Cycling Faces Olympic Banishment

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Cycling Faces Olympic Banishment

If Lance Armstrong decides to implicate the world governing body of cycling (UCI), there is a chance that the sport may face Olympic banishment, according to Dick Pound, the former chief of WADA.

Pound remarked that cycling may have to be dropped from Olympics if the disgraced cyclist implicates the International Cycling Union (UCI) in a cover-up of his systematic doping. He claimed that the International Olympic Committee may have to take action against the cycling’s world governing body if the interview of Lance Armstrong with Oprah Winfrey shows the governing body acted improperly. A long-time critic of the sport’s doping history, Pound has raised the prospect of cycling being thrown out of the Games with his comments. The International Olympic Committee vice-president said Olympic banishment might be the only way to properly reform the sport.

According to media reports, the seven-time winner of Tour de France, is willing to testify against senior cycling officials in a desperate attempt for the lifetime ban to be lifted so he can compete in sanctioned triathlons and marathons. Meanwhile, anti-doping officials have called on the banned cyclist to admit his guilt under oath before considering whether they reduce his lifetime ban. This was after Oprah Winfrey confirmed speculation that Armstrong confessed to doping when he gave the talk show host an interview that lasted more than two hours.

However, the comments were dismissed by the IOC as ‘premature’ IOC communications director Mark Adams said it was too early to even consider any repercussions. Adams added that Pound has based his comments on a broadcast that hasn’t even been made live.

In another development, WADA president John Fahey announced that the world anti-doping agency will not take part in the independent probe that is set up to investigate handling of doping by UCI because of “serious concerns” about the inquiry. Fahey made the announcement as USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said the refusal of the cycling governing body to allow limited amnesty for witnesses who testify before the commission “calls into question” the commitment of the union to a thorough investigation. An emergency meeting was called by the UCI to resolve the stand-off that came in after the International Cycling Union rejected an amnesty proposal by the independent commission that said an amnesty for those who admit to past involvement is needed if the truth is to emerge.

The request of the UCI Commission for ruth and Reconciliation process – in which a full or partial amnesty is offered to riders, team management, or others involved in professional cycling, who confess to past involvement in doping was not granted by the cycling governing body. A UCIIC statement said the commission is of the view that a truth and reconciliation process is required for the purposes of this inquiry, and that such a process would ensure that the most complete evidence is available to the commission at its hearing in April 2013. After this, it was announced that WADA and USADA and pressure group Change Cycling Now (CCN) will not take part in the inquiry. The meeting, where this issue will be addressed with the world governing body of cycling, is to be held in London, and in public, as soon as possible after 21 January.

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Thursday 03, Mar 2011

  Armstrong hits back over new allegations

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Armstrong hits back over new allegationsNew doping allegations raised in a report by Sports Illustrated about Lance Armstrong having more than testosterone ratio for three years and using performance enhancing drugs was vehemently denied by the seven-time Tour de France winner.

The legendary cyclist brushed aside questions about the story before taking part in the second stage of the Tour Down Under.

Armstrong’s mentor and the manager of this RadioShack team, Johan Bruyneel, also refused to discuss the report.

Wednesday 10, Nov 2010

  My revelations will shock all, says Ben Johnson

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my-revelations-will-shock-all-says-ben-johnsonBen Johnson, a shy and stuttering 19-year-old Jamaican sprinter who was made a disgraced Olympic 100m champion in 1988 and still branded the most notorious cheat in sporting history recently said that his revelations will shock the entire sporting world.

Johnson who will publish his autobiography, Seoul to Soul, next month described how Charlie Francis, his coach and who had been like a second father to him, sold the idea of doping to him with murky logic.

In his book, Johnson will admit to charges of doping and suggests his drink in Seoul was spiked with a drug he had always avoided. Johnson also said that he stopped taking steroids six weeks before the Games and he tested positive for Stanozolol when he was also using other steroids.

Thursday 28, Aug 2008

  The paradox of steroid testing

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If we’re to consider public opinions, we’ll see that no matter what anti-doping officials are able to achieve in their quest to minimize, or ideally to completely eradicate doping, in sports there will always be the skeptics and the cynics to deal with. This is to say that there will be sectors that view the Olympics as a sport spectacle speckled with doped-up athletes.

Since the Beijing Olympics officially wrapped up just a few days ago and as the grandiose venues begin to collect dust, there is the customary review of the events that transpired on the latest Summer Games and one of which is anti-doping programs that have been implemented.

There are those that say the small number of athletes who tested positive for steroids and other performance boosters might signify that many others were able to skirt detection. Of the 4,500 tests conducted in Beijing, only six were caught committing doping violations. Still, others are of opinion that the more doping busts is equal to more skepticism about the cleanliness of the Olympics.

According to the Sportingo article, the idea that only a few but high profile scandals have unfairly tainted the Olympics might not be completely true. It says there are many doping incidents that continually happen in diverse sports. However, since these incidents involved less known athletes they are not given widespread media coverage. Such incidents do happen “on a regular basis” and the “numerous bans of more obscure athletes only serve to re-confirm the public perceptions of the pervasive nature of steroids in Olympics and in sport.”

To further illustrate the point, the article provides this paragraph:

“Hungarian weightlifting silver medalist Ferenc Gyurkovics and Puerto Rican wrestler Mabel Fonseca were expelled from the games today after testing positive for steroids, the International Olympic Committee said. Gyurkovics, 24, tested positive for oxandrolone, the IOC said. He competed in the 105kg class and set an Olympic record by lifting 195kg in the snatch on Tuesday, but finished second to Dmitri Berestov of Russia in the overall totals. Gyurkovics was stripped of his medal by the IOC executive board. Ukraine’s Igor Razoronov will now get the silver, with Russia’s Gleb Pisarevskiy moving up to bronze. Fonseca, 32, tested positive for the steroid stanozolol.

Ukrainian Razonorov was later tested positive for nandrolone and became the sixth and last athlete to be expelled from the 2008 Olympics.

The numerous bans being issued also contribute to public’s awareness that games are tainted and steroid use is an “open secret” amongst Olympic athletes, trainers and coaches.

They train together, and share the same burden of pressure to gain a competitive edge. How many are using is unclear, but there is certainly no doubt that all athletes are conscious and aware of who is using or from whom they can get anabolic supplements or a steroid program for enhancing performance and building muscle. It is surely as simple as “asking around.”

Additionally, there is also the prevalence of systematic doping, i.e., use of performance enhancers are no longer exclusively practiced by “a single Olympic competitor… (steroid use) pervades an entire Olympic team, such as the example of the Polish weightlifting team in 2004.”

Five members of the Polish weightlifting team were disqualified from joining the Athens Olympics because they tested positive for banned substances.

This … is an example of how not only individuals but entire teams can be on steroid programs, and even sponsored by the state. This example is presented to establish that the cynicism in public perceptions of steroid use among Olympic athletes is completely founded.

Also, one may have noticed that there are many different kinds of steroids, and the fact is that as of now there may be no limit on the amount of steroids that exist, from those that have not been deemed performance-enhancing as of yet, through those that are designed to mask detection, to the ones that are already on the list of banned substances, a continuously and rapidly growing that officially numbers in the hundreds.