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WADA’s ban a serious blow to Russian sports, tough reaction must follow – Russian deputy parliament speaker

WADA’s ban a serious blow to Russian sports, tough reaction must follow – Russian deputy parliament speaker
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had dealt a serious blow to Russian sports by imposing a four-year ban on Monday, so Moscow’s reaction needs to be tough, a deputy speaker of the Russian parliament said.

“I believe [the WADA decision] requires for a tough reaction for our nation, first of all from our President, since he is the one who has the authority to bring order in this sphere in Russia,” Igor Lebedev told RIA Novosti.

Earlier in the day WADA’s executive committee announced it has decided to ban Russian athletes for competing in international events. The nation itself will not be allowed to host such competitions as well. The punishment comes in response to anti-doping officials finding inconsistencies in the raw data provided by the Russian national watchdog RUSADA.

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“Obviously, it was a political decision. And it does not resolve the issues that could have been resolved otherwise,” said Viktor Zubarev, who like Lebedev sits in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament. “I hope common sense will prevail in the end. Politics will be removed from sports and our guys will have a chance to compete. WADA’s decision is not fair.”

Senator Valery Ryazansky said there is only one thing Russia can do under the circumstances, and that is to continue “to prove we are right where we are certain we are.”

“We have to keep on fighting, to appeal these decisions in sports arbitration. We have to keep working and not isolate ourselves from the international community,” he told TASS.

RUSADA's certification from WADA was stripped in 2015 after the Russian anti-doping official Grigory Rodchenkov accused Russia of running a state-sponsored system of athletic doping. The Russian agency was reinstated on the condition that it provides raw data on doping tests.

WADA said the data it received from Rodchenkov didn't match what it found in the Russia-provided database and concluded that the Russian authorities must have manipulated it. Moscow says the information on the Russian servers could have been tampered-with via remote access before it was cut from Internet access, and sees the scandal as part of the West's wide-ranging campaign to scapegoat Russia, including in sports.

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