Big news!! The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) says its expert team has finally managed to retrieve all the doping data from the Moscow laboratory – but admits it cannot yet be sure whether it is genuine.
Wada has been attempting to get its hands on the data since 2015 in order to build cases against thousands of Russian athletes who are suspected of being involved in state-sponsored doping. However Russia had refused to cooperate until Wada’s executive committee controversially decided to lift the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September. That decision angered many athletes and other anti-doping agencies – and their frustration only increased when Russia then missed a 31 December deadline to let Wada have the data.
However Wada’s president Sir Craig Reedie hailed the news as a “major breakthrough for clean sport” after Wada’s three-strong team of experts finally completed its Moscow mission on Thursday.
“It shows we are continuing to make real progress that simply would not have happened without the 20 September ExCo decision,” Reedie added. “The long impasse around access to the former Moscow Laboratory has been broken and that is significantly good news.”
However many in the anti-doping world remain sceptical of Russia, with rumours rife that the original data may well have been wiped by the authorities. And Reedie conceded that Wada would now need to “authenticate and review the data to ensure it is complete and that it has not been compromised.
“Given the amount of data, that will take some time to achieve but our experts have the tools they need to be able to verify the data with a high degree of confidence,” he said. “Once the data have been authenticated, we will be in a position to proceed to the third phase and support the various sports and other anti-doping organisations concerned to build strong cases against athletes who doped and, as part of that, ensure that certain samples that are still stored in the Moscow Laboratory are reanalysed in an accredited laboratory no later than 30 June 2019.”
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