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  1. #1
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    Anti-Doping Agency Facing Crisis Over Russia

    The World Anti-Doping Agency is facing perhaps its deepest crisis after a fresh wave of allegations of orchestrated doping in Russia, and the revelation of serious failings in the current drug-testing regime in the country.

    The latest allegations, which widen the Russian crisis beyond athletics, already mired in scandal, come just 83 days before the start of the Rio Olympics and pose a new challenge to the integrity of the Games and global anti-doping.

    The new allegations of systematic doping, and an associated cover-up, came in an interview with the New York Times by the former head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Grigory Rodchenkov, who claimed to have run a sophisticated doping operation in Sochi.

    As well as doping 15 medallists, he also described a secret operation, co-ordinated with the Russian security service the FSB, to remove tainted samples from the official Olympic headquarters.

    Rodchenko claimed to have established a secret laboratory, in a room adjoining the main anti-doping lab in Sochi, and to have switched samples by passing them through a hole cut in the wall.

    WADA and the International Olympic Committee said they will investigate the allegations, but Russia’s deputy sports minister Yuri Nagornych told a press conference in Moscow "there has not and never has been any kind of doping programme in Russian sport."

    Russian track-and-field athletes were banned from international competition last November after the revelation of "state supported" doping, and RUSADA was disbanded.

    WADA was hoping to provide an alternative testing regime by recruiting UK Anti-Doping, but Sky News understands it may consider withdrawing because of the repeated obstruction of its officials.

    Sky News revealed earlier this week that anti-doping officials had been repeatedly prevented from testing athletes, and WADA has now confirmed the scale of the problem.

    Its board was told there were just 10 doping control officers for the whole of Russia and that some had been threatened with having their visas revoked if they tried to test athletes.

    Beckie Scott, chair of WADA's athlete's committee, told Sky News that the agency had been contacted by many athletes who were concerned about doping.

    "They are demanding that they be given a chance to compete on a fair and level playing field and that's what we are trying to do here," Ms Scott said.

    WADA also revealed that UKAD had carried out just 247 testing missions in four months.

    Of these 99 where "whereabouts failures" - the athlete was not available for testing - and 49 contained adverse analytical findings, 47 of them for recently-banned heart drug meldonium.

    Just 99, or 40% of the total, were completed, clean tests.

    UKAD’s board has not yet recommended they walk away from Russia, but it is understood they are monitoring the situation.

    Were they to do so, it would cast major doubt on the chances of Russia’s athletes being readmitted in time for the Olympics. World athletics’ governing body the IAAF is scheduled to make the decision on 17 June.

    In a statement UKAD said: "The Board discussed the risks associated with such an arrangement and those risks, and others, are regularly reviewed by the Board, in addition to the progress being made.

    "As with any agreement, termination is always a possibility if the circumstances change. At no stage has the UKAD Board proposed withdrawing from this agreement."

    Anti-Doping Agency Facing Crisis Over Russia
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  2. #2
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    Russian athletes will still have to be allowed into Rio, else the whole Olympic team may boycott it.

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