Russian probe is 'defining moment' for doping, says U.S. boss

Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:54am EST
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By Julian Linden

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The probe into allegations of widespread doping in Russia is looming as the critical battle in the global fight against drugs in sport, the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has set up an independent commission to investigate claims of systematic doping among Russian athletes and USADA chief Travis Tygart said the findings could prove to be a turning point for all sports.

"This investigation that WADA has undertaken into Russia is so critically important right now," Tygart told a high-level doping conference in Singapore on Wednesday.

"There are allegations out there that have been portrayed in the media (and) there are facts that back some of those allegations.

"We can argue about the credibility of those facts at this point but there are facts out there which is what initiated WADA's investigation.

"And that's why it's a defining moment, if not the defining moment, where a country that's alleged, along with its anti-doping organizations, its lab, other sport federations, of doping its athletes in order to win on the world stage."

Russian sports officials have denied allegations, which were aired in a German TV documentary but have not been verified by Reuters, of widespread doping and corruption in Russia, despite a recent spate of positive tests.

Last month, Russia's anti-doping agency announced that three Olympic walking champions, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin, Sergei Kirdyapkin, as well as the 2011 world champion Sergei Bakulin and the 2011 World silver medalist Vladimir Kanaykin had all been suspended for doping infringements.   Continued...

Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, speaks during Anti-Doping Intelligence and Investigation Seminar in Singapore February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su