Drug testers routinely obstructed by Russian athletes: WADA

Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:04pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - Russian athletes continue to fail drug tests and obstruct doping control officers, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Wednesday in a damning report that paints a gloomy picture of efforts to enact doping reforms.

The WADA report, which covers a six-month period from last November following the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, comes two days before athletics' governing body rules on whether Russian competitors can compete in the Rio Olympics.

According to the report, Russian athletes returned 52 adverse findings, including 49 for meldonium. It also said there were 23 missed tests, which the report called "significant," 111 whereabouts failures and 736 tests were declined or canceled.

Testers were also routinely obstructed from gaining access to athletes who used military cities as the location for their whereabouts knowing doping control officers would need special permission to gain access.

"The report today outlines some of the serious challenges faced in implementing an effective testing program in Russia, and it indicates that much work still needs to be done," WADA said in a statement.

"It is clear that cultural change is required to embrace clean sport. There is clearly still a long road ahead to ensure all athletes, national federations and support personnel understand the importance of a robust anti-doping program."

According to WADA, drug testers were reportedly intimidated when accessing military cities by armed agents threatening them with expulsion from the country.

Once allowed to enter, security staff created significant delays for testers entering venues and were closely monitored once inside, the report said.   Continued...

A woman walks into the head office for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on November 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo