WADA flexes muscles with Russian doping agency ban

Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:59pm EST
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By Steve Keating

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Reuters) - Russia's sporting reputation was in tatters and drug cheats around the world put on notice on Wednesday as an emboldened World Anti-Doping Agency vowed to step up the war on performance-enhancing drugs.

WADA capped a big fortnight for their cause, and a miserable one for Russia, by suspending the country's anti-doping agency on the back of an independent commission report that uncovered evidence of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.

The suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) completed a non-compliance hat-trick.

The Moscow laboratory implicated in the cover-up has been decertified, while the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) was banned last week by the world governing body (IAAF).

The commission, led by former-WADA chief Dick Pound, generated plenty of buzz at Wednesday's board meeting as the world-doping authority signaled a possible change in the way it does business going forward.

"I'm not sure they (WADA) realized they had the muscle until we got our teeth into some reliable evidence and followed up on it and came out with a report with recommendations," said Pound.

"Maybe that's the new WADA. Maybe we could have gotten there sooner if we had known how to deal with the kind of information that was coming from whistle blowers.

"Once we got some hard evidence, some audio, visual recordings, there you are now we've got something and we know where to go and how to pursue it. Maybe that's WADA II."   Continued...

A man walks outside an office of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in Moscow, Russia, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov