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2 Jan, 2019 08:10

WADA ‘disappointed’ at missed Moscow lab deadline, but IOC chief offers Olympics hope

WADA ‘disappointed’ at missed Moscow lab deadline, but IOC chief offers Olympics hope

World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie says he is “disappointed” at the organization’s failure to access Moscow laboratory data as the deadline for the step elapsed at the end of 2018.

WADA had agreed on accessing the data as part of the deal to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September following a three-year suspension amid claims of widespread doping.

A WADA delegation visited Moscow in December with the aim of accessing the data, but returned home empty-handed after the Russian authorities said the equipment they planned to use was not certified under local law.

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WADA boss Reedie confirmed in a statement that the deadline had been missed, saying: “I am bitterly disappointed that data extraction from the former Moscow Laboratory has not been completed by the date agreed by WADA’s ExCo [Executive Committee] in September 2018.

“Since then, WADA has been working diligently with the Russian authorities to meet the deadline, which was clearly in the best interest of clean sport. The process agreed by WADA’s ExCo in September will now be initiated.”

The issue will be referred to WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC), which meets on January 14-15, to decide further steps.

The WADA statement added: "WADA experts continue to be ready to proceed with extraction of the data. WADA will update the CRC of any progress in this regard at the CRC 14-15 January 2019 meeting.

"WADA also continues its work with RUSADA, including through the presence of a WADA-commissioned Independent International Expert at RUSADA’s headquarters, to ensure that proper anti-doping activities, in particular testing, are being carried out in Russia."

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However,  International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach signaled that Russia would not face potential suspension for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, despite the situation with WADA.

"With its suspension from the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018, the Russian Olympic Committee has served its sanction, while in other organizations procedures are still ongoing," Bach said in a New Year's message.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov had said ahead of the deadline that WADA and the Russian authorities were still working on finding a solution.

RUSADA boss Yuri Ganus had earlier called on President Vladimir Putin to step in to resolve the problem, warning that Russian sport “stood on the edge of a cliff” if WADA were to suspend the country again.

Some, including the chief of the US anti-doping authorities, Travis Tygart, have already called for an immediate resuspension of Russia, accusing it of “playing” WADA over the situation.