Doping: WADA in the crosshairs, as IOC members fume at late response

Tue Aug 2, 2016 6:31pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency was on the receiving end of scorching criticism on Tuesday from the IOC who urged WADA to restore its reputation as the war of words over the timing of its response to the Russian doping scandal escalated.

WADA chief Craig Reedie was grilled at the International Olympic Committee session for what members said was a failure to act on information from whistleblowers of widespread doping in Russia until it became public through the media last year.

As a result, a WADA-commissioned report on the extent of the abuse was published in July, leaving the IOC to make a decision on whether Russian athletes could participate in the Rio Games just weeks before they were due to open.

The scandal has led to dozens of Russian athletes being banned from the Olympics, which begin on Friday, including essentially the entire track-and-field team.

But the IOC has come under fire for not imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes, despite the report revealing systematic state-backed doping in the country.

Reedie, who is also an IOC Vice President, defended his organisation's actions, saying WADA acted once concrete facts were made available but added that things needed to improve.

"I like to believe all of the system is not broken," Reedie said. "Part of the system is broken. We should start trying to identify those parts that need attention."

"Findings (of the report) and (the) impact created challenging timelines. It is almost impossible to think of the difficulty we have faced in dealing with the very, very serious issues."   Continued...

A man walks into an elevator at the head offices for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, November 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi