Russia banned from Olympic Games for altering doping data
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[December 09, 2019]
By Brian Homewood and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber
LAUSANNE/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia was
banned from the Olympics and other major world championships on Monday
after sporting officials decided to punish it for tampering with
doping-related laboratory data in another blow to Russia's already
tarnished sporting reputation.
The decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), imposed a four-year
ban on Russia participating in a range of top-flight sporting
tournaments, a period covering the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the 2022
Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup.
WADA's executive committee took the decision after concluding that
Moscow had tampered with laboratory data by planting fake evidence and
deleting files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped
identify drug cheats.
The decision to punish Russia with a ban was unanimous, a WADA spokesman
Russia, which has tried to showcase itself as a global sports power, has
been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by
the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping in
Its doping woes have grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined
from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag
altogether at last year's Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for
state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Monday's sanctions, which also include a four-year ban on Russia hosting
major sporting events, were recommended by WADA's compliance review
committee in response to the doctored laboratory data provided by Moscow
earlier this year.
One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping
agency RUSADA, which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics
doping scandal but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provide an
authentic copy of the laboratory data.
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A man stands in front of the Olympic rings outside the headquarters
of the Olympic Committee of Russia in Moscow, Russia November 28,
2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
The sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation.
RUSADA head Yuri Ganus could not be immediately be reached for
comment. His deputy, Margarita Pakhnotskaya, told the TASS news
agency that WADA's decision had been expected.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov last month attributed the
discrepancies in the laboratory data to technical issues.
Russia's punishment leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes
to compete at major international sporting events without their flag
or anthem for the next four years, something they did at the 2018
Some Russian officials have tried to cast WADA's behavior as part of
what they say is a broader Western attempt to hold back the country.
Igor Lebedev, a lawmaker and deputy speaker of Russia's lower house
of parliament, said on Monday the move was a serious blow to Russian
sport that required a tough response from Russia's authorities, the
RIA news agency reported.
If RUSADA appeals WADA's punishment, the case will be referred to
the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
(Editing by Andrew Osborn and Angus MacSwan)
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