The Rio Olympics was over many months ago but the Russian dope test controversy which made headlines at that time is not over. The new WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) report said on Friday more than 1000 Russian athletes of more than 30 sports were involved in state-run doping conspiracy to cover up positive drug tests.
Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren’s second and final part of the report presented detailed information of Russia’s Sports ministry sponsored doping program.
The report said that the Russian secret service opened the ‘tampered-proof’ bottles by using several methods to cover up original drug report. Tiny scratches inside the urine bottles during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics helped to uncover the dope scheme.
In a news conference, McLaren told, “We are now able to confirm a cover-up that dates back until at least 2011 that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy.”
He said more than 500 reports were negative including medal winners and well-known elite-level athletes who tampered their positive result.
McLaren stated, “More than 1,000 athletes competing in Summer, Winter and Paralympic sport could be identified as being involved in or benefiting from tampering to conceal positive tests.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOA) said it would test all the Russian athletes’ samples from the 2012 London Olympics and the ongoing re-tests from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The WADA president Craig Reedie mentioned the report as ‘warning’ but Russia did not want to accept its conclusions.
The Russian Sports Ministry said it would cooperate with the anti-doping agency and study the WADA report. The Sports Ministry denied “that any government programmes exists to support doping in sport”.
The double Olympic pole vault champion and newly elected head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency supervisory board, Yelena Isinbayeva said “It is well known to us that many foreign athletes have a history of doping but compete at an international level with no problems. If we want to clean up world sport, let’s start…we don’t need to concentrate on just one country.”
Member of Parliament and president of Russia’s Curling Federation, Dmitry Svishchev stated, “We haven’t heard anything new. Unfounded accusations against us all. If you are Russian, they accuse you of all sins.”
McLaren explained Russia had won 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals at the London Olympics and no one was tested positive. He said the Russian team corrupted on an unprecedented scale. “For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field.”
Several methods were used to tamper samples
The report showed there were many cases where a doctored B sample did not match the DNA of previous samples. Also, there were samples which contained a mixture of male and female urine.
Four Russians who won gold in Sochi had shown salt readings which were actually physiologically impossible.
Friday’s report showed evidence that said Moscow had covered up hundreds of positive doping tests ahead of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
This year IOC rejected to impose a blanket ban on Russia in Rio Olympics. The international sports federations decided only athletics and weightlifting banned from the entire Rio Games.
But the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) imposed a complete ban on Russia from its Rio Olympics. The IPC on Friday said the finding of the report “strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport”.
Olivier Niggli, the WADA Director General told Reuters that the doping system only scratched the surface of the problem which may have touched all the countries’ Olympic athletes. “Richard McLaren and his team only had access to a fraction of what probably happened in Russia.”
He added, “We have to be realistic. He got a sample of what was going on, the scale of this might have been bigger than that. It could have concerned every athlete in Russia.”