Russia ‘working well’ on tackling doping, but no progress overnight – WADA president to RT

Russia ‘working well’ on tackling doping, but no progress overnight  – WADA president to RT
Russia is cooperating with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), its president Craig Reedie, told RT. He said that how long Russia takes to be reinstated in the organisation is in the hands of the country.

In November, RT overheard the WADA president being told by the body’s director general, Olivier Niggli, to give the impression that the agency isn't “desperate for them [Russia] to come back.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t fully accept your question,” Reedie said after being asked to comment on the conversation.

“The ball is firmly in the court of the sports authorities and the legal authorities in Russia,” Reedie added. “It is important that Russia becomes compliant at the earliest possible moment. After that, not only should they be compliant, but they have to do it in such a way that the rest of the world believes they are compliant and they will continue to be compliant.”

However, the president said that getting reinstated would require a lot of hard work on the part of Russia, whose RUSADA anti-doping laboratory was suspended by WADA in 2015 over large-scale state-sponsored doping accusations.

“You can’t do this progress overnight. This is step, by step, by step,” he said.

“We’ve told them what they have to do. It’s up to them to do it. And I want them to do it as quickly as they can,” he added.

The WADA boss said that he’s satisfied with the level of cooperation that the anti-doping agency receives from the Russian side.

“They are working well,” he said. “Yes, we get assistance. We’ve had two international experts in Russia for many months.”

With doping an international problem, RT asked Reedie why WADA is putting much more effort and funds into investigating Russia than other countries.

“The hard fact of the matter is that you can’t simply turn up at the front door of the country and say, ‘I’m here to investigate.’ You have to have evidence. You have to investigate properly. It has to be done by professional people,” he said.

“What we are working our way through is the implications of the discoveries that we have found out in Russia, starting with Russia and athletics and now Russia and all sport. And we’re moving through that,” the president said. 

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According to Reedie, WADA is now “increasing” its investigative capacity in order to be able to deal with doping allegations in the future more effectively.

Over the past year, Russia has been denying accusations of large-scale state-sponsored doping by its athletes.

The sanctions by WADA led to a ban from Russian track-and-field athletes being banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and saw the whole country’s team missing the Paralympics in Brazil.

The anti-doping body published a report from Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren that detailed the results of his investigation into doping allegations at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

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