Russian track and field athletes may be barred from participating in the 2016 Olympics after an independent investigation found a state-sponsored doping program.
In the investigation, conducted by former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound, found that Russia’s drug testing has:
“deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” within athletics in Russia.
The scarier issue is that Russia tried to cover the cheating by carefully destroying over 1,400 samples despite WADA’s plea for the tests to be handed over.
When asked if the destroyed samples could have had effect on the 24 Gold Medals won at the 2012 London Olympics, Pound said:
“in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing. corruption and bribery practices at the highest levels of international athletics.”
Pound has criticized International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) they have employed a hands-off approach to dealing with drug issue and Pound wants the IAAF and WADA to lay the hammer on Russia by banning five coaches and five athletes involved with the doping for life.
After Pound made the suggestion that 2012 Olympic 800-meter champion Mariya Savinova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova should be included in the ban, Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Director Nikita Kamaev fired back.
Kamaev denounced WADA and Dick Pound for being:
“unprofessional, illogical and declarative,”
Russia’s sport minister Vitaly Mutko supported Kamaev by saying:
“Russia took all the necessary measures to fight the doping problem, [and] Moscow’s anti-doping lab was recently recognized as one of the world’s best. Concerning the abjection of doping test samples, it was WADA’s initiative. We will still take into consideration WADA’s recommendations.”
Kamaev’s and Mutko’s words meant nothing, as the investigation has been turned over to the international crime-fighting organization Interpol for further assessment. The issue does go deeper into the IAAF even despite their president Seb Coe saying:
“We need time to properly digest and understand the detailed findings included in the report. However, I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF).
The IAAF doesn’t want to jump to conclusions, even though their former president resigned amid allegations of protecting these Russian athletes after they had failed drug tests. To me, Interpol and WADA should have the final say in this matter, since the IAAF has a conflicting and complicated interest in Russian athletics.
By doing this we can protect the integrity of track and field and take a stand against cheating, because if Interpol finds the investigation to be true, there is no place for Russia in the athletics business until they clean up their act and suffer harsh and severe penalties.