The Latest: Russia praises cooperation with WADA
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Russian doping scandal (all times local):
Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov says the World Anti-Doping Agency engaged in “constructive cooperation” on a much-criticized data transfer.
Russian authorities turned over crucial data from the Moscow lab at the center of years of doping scandals last week, more than two weeks late, but WADA opted not to punish the country.
Kolobkov says “I welcome this decision. To make this decision happen, the Sports Ministry and the Investigative Committee, together with the WADA experts, carried out a large amount of organizational work and solved a lot of procedural issues.”
Kolobkov adds that “going forward, I continue to hope for this kind of constructive cooperation from WADA and its experts.”
Russia’s anti-doping agency has welcomed a WADA decision not to reinstate a suspension after authorities handed over lab data past the deadline.
RUSADA CEO Yuri Ganus says organizing the data transfer was “not very simple.”
He says the next stage — turning over potentially suspicious stored samples to the World Anti-Doping Agency — will be more difficult.
Ganus says “it’s a fairly tricky process and we need to put in quite a bit of effort to meet these demands.”
WADA is hoping to use the data to identify suspicious samples from an era when doping was routinely covered up in Russia, and to belatedly catch cheats.
The Russian agency doesn’t have direct control of the lab, its data and samples, which have been sealed off by the country’s law enforcement.
A World Anti-Doping Agency committee says Russia could be banned from next year’s Olympics in Tokyo if data from the Moscow lab has been tampered with.
The Compliance Review Committee says in a letter published by WADA that it would “very likely” recommend that “no Russian officials, athletes or athlete support personnel will be permitted to participate in the 2020 Olympic or Paralympic Games” if that happens.
The CRC also states that it could recommend “that Russia may not be granted any right to host any world championships in any sport for a specified period.”
Russia handed over data from Moscow’s anti-doping lab last week after missing a Dec. 31 deadline.
WADA has started analyzing the data, which could take several weeks.
The World Anti-Doping Agency says lab data handed over by Russian authorities is enough to avoid a new ban for the country’s anti-doping agency.
Even though Russia missed a Dec. 31 deadline to hand over the information, WADA’s executive board ruled that the Russian agency would not be suspended again.
WADA president Craig Reedie says the executive board “was pleased to hear of the significant progress that has been made in resolving the Russian doping matter since its decision in September last year to reinstate RUSADA under strict conditions.”
WADA is still working to analyze whether the data is genuine and says Russia could face further sanctions if it has been tampered with.
Alexander Zubkov says he is stepping down as president of the Russian bobsled federation after being banned for two years in a doping case.
Zubkov carried the Russian flag at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and won two bobsled gold medals which were later stripped for doping. He denies taking any banned substances.
Zubkov tells The Associated Press he is “stepping down for the duration of (his) disqualification” from the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, which runs through December 2020. He adds he could return to the post when the ban ends.
Zubkov says Elena Anikina, a longtime sports official who worked on Russia’s bid to host the Sochi Olympics, will serve as acting president.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says Russia is “optimistic” ahead of a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling Tuesday on whether the country’s authorities met demands to turn over lab data.
The WADA executive committee reinstated Russia’s anti-doping agency in September on condition the country turned over data from a Moscow laboratory. That could help WADA pursue doping cases against many top Russian athletes for past offenses.
WADA representatives left Moscow with the data last week but only after Russia missed a Dec. 31 deadline.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, says “our sports authorities have clearly made the maximum effort to arrange the work of the WADA representatives in Moscow, to arrange all the necessary procedures and contacts” and “so in Moscow everyone is optimistic.”