WADA Accused Of 'Sexing Up' Drug Cases Against Russian Athletes
The World Anti-Doping Agency has been accused of having “sexed up” the case against Russian athletes following the McLaren report by "handing over to sporting federations the names of competitors who were not accused of doping," according to Jacquelin Magnay of THE AUSTRALIAN. In a "stunning development," some of the Russian competitors whose alleged drug testing was used to support aspects of WADA's McLaren report had reportedly "shown no evidence of doping." Some IOC members believe WADA’s high-profile release of the McLaren report was "designed to ignite the 'nuclear' option of excluding the entire Russian team from the Rio Games and WADA had now been caught short not having enough detail to justify some of the claims against athletes." The IOC has now issued an urgent notice to all sports to reassess whether a Russian competitor was "implicated" in the McLaren report, which may "lead to some Russians being reinstated for Rio." The IOC has asked sports to clear Russians if their name was listed as "quarantine," or in other words their sample was not changed. Separately, IOC VP & Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates wrote to Health Minister Sussan Ley telling her in blunt terms that the IOC had a "lack of confidence" in WADA. A senior sports official said, "We were asked to make a judgment about Russian competitors based on McLaren’s report but without having any of the detail to understand the significance of them being named. Now to be told that there were four different categories -- why weren’t we told this at the very beginning? It is a mess and it’s WADA’s fault." The official added, "They sexed it up which is crazy because now the entire report is under scrutiny and I am sure most of the report is absolutely accurate. It just puts question marks where question marks should not be" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/4).
SYSTEM OVERHAUL: The ABC reported Bach has "called for a complete overhaul of the global anti-doping system." Bach said that uncovering Russia's widespread doping showed "deficiencies in the system" run by WADA. Bach: "Recent developments have shown that we need a full review of the WADA anti-doping system. The IOC is calling for a more robust and efficient anti-doping system. This requires clear responsibilities, more transparency, more independence and better worldwide harmonization" (ABC, 8/2).
UNDER ATTACK: In Sydney, Samantha Lane reported WADA was characterized by one IOC boss as an organization "more interested in generating publicity than conducting efficient investigations." The new IOC Athletes' Commission head said that WADA must have an "overhaul ... to restore credibility." Bach "won support from all but one of the IOC's 85 members" -- British IOC Athletes' Commission member Adam Pengilly, who is soon to stand down from the position -- in a show of hands. Adding to the extraordinary circumstances was the fact WADA President Craig Reedie "stood before the meeting of IOC heads essentially the target of attack." Israeli IOC member Alex Gilady was "among the most strident WADA critics, stating the body took too long to act on tip-offs about doping at the top of Russian sport." Gilady: "It's not the reputation of the IOC that has to be restored, it's the reputation of WADA" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/3).
PRINCESS DEFENSE: In London, Martyn Ziegler reported Princess Anne "made an unprecedented intervention" to defend WADA after it came under attack from leading members of the IOC over its proposal for a blanket ban on Russia. The Princess Royal, an IOC member for 30 years, said, "Some of us have been here long enough to be there at the beginning of WADA when, in the days that we competed, there was no such organization. As an organization it's come a very long way, and with it has come a lot of assumptions about what it can achieve and we're asking it a lot that is different from its original remit, including a level of responsibility that it's being asked to take" (LONDON TIMES, 8/3).