World Anti-Doping Agency bans Russia, athletes from Olympics, major events for four years

  • The four-year period will see Russia also barred from the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022, as well as from hosting or even bidding for such events

  • Even before WADA's executive committee met at a hotel in the IOC's home city of Lausanne, Russia signaled it would appeal the ruling

  • However, Russian athletes who are cleared by WADA as clean and not part of the state-sponsored doping program can compete under a neutral flag

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday approved the recommendation set forth by its Compliance Review Committee to ban Russia from all major sporting events for the next four years, resulting in its athletes not being able to compete under their national flag in the Olympics for the second consecutive time.

 World Anti-Doping Agency bans Russia, athletes from Olympics, major events for four years

Representative image. Reuters

The four year period for which the ban extends will see the nation also barred from the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022, as well as from hosting or even bidding for such events. Not just the athletes, but even government officials will be barred from attending such events.

The ban approval comes after the committee had confirmed that a database from Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA) laboratory in Moscow that the Russian officials were supposed to hand over in January was tainted with fake evidence, with positive test results removed from the samples.

There is however, some hope for Russian athletes. Those who are cleared by WADA as clean and not part of the state-sponsored doping program can compete under a neutral flag.

“I’m not happy with the decision we made today. But this is as far as we could go," said Linda Helleland, a Norwegian lawmaker who serves on WADA executive committee and has long pushed for a tougher line against Russia. “This is the biggest sports scandal the world has ever seen. I would expect now a full admission from the Russians and for them to apologize on all the pain all the athletes and sports fans have experienced.”

“Flagrant manipulation” of the Moscow lab data was “an insult to the sporting movement worldwide,” the IOC said last month. Handing over a clean database to WADA was a key requirement for Russia to help bring closure to a scandal that has tainted the Olympics over the last decade.

Even before WADA’s executive committee met at a hotel in the IOC's home city of Lausanne, Russia signaled it would appeal the ruling.

The decision to appeal has been stripped from RUSADA chief executive Yuri Ganus, an independent figure criticizing Russian authorities’ conduct on the doping data issue. Authority was passed to the agency’s supervisory board after an intervention led by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

The ROC on Saturday labeled the expected sanctions as “illogical and inappropriate.”

Russia, which has tried to showcase themselves as a global sports power, has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

Its doping woes have grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2019 17:42:13 IST