Olympics 2016: Wada 'disappointed' as IOC fails to ban Russia

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Olympics 2016: Wada disappointed as IOC fails to ban Russia
Russia's Daria Ustinova competes in a women's 200m backstroke heat at the 2015 Swimming World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Ustinova was banned by Fina on Monday.

Published: Mon 25 Jul 2016, 9:40 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jul 2016, 11:46 PM

The World Anti-Doping Agency added its voice on Sunday to those criticising the International Olympic Committee's failure to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics in the wake of doping revelations.
The Montreal-based agency issued a statement saying it would work to "ensure the best possible outcome for clean athletes" in Rio, but regretted that the IOC ignored its call for a ban of Russia after the Wada-commissioned McLaren Report found evidence of a government-backed doping system in a range of sports.
Wada had urged the IOC to ban all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee for both the Rio Games and the Paralympics, with individual exceptions to be considered by the IOC for participation under a neutral flag.
WADA also recommended that Russian government officials be denied access to the Rio Games.
"Wada is disappointed that the IOC did not heed Wada's Executive Committee recommendations that were based on the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and would have ensured a straight-forward, strong and harmonized approach," Wada president Craig Reedie said.
"The McLaren Report exposed, beyond a reasonable doubt, a state-run doping program in Russia that seriously undermines the principles of clean sport embodied within the World Anti-Doping Code."
IOC president Thomas Bach said on Sunday that the body opted against an outright ban in order to protect the rights of clean Russian competitors.
But Wada said the decision to give individual sports federations primary responsibility for determining every Russian athlete's eligibility for Rio was a recipe for confusion.
"While Wada fully respects the IOC's autonomy to make decisions under the Olympic Charter, the approach taken and the criteria set forward will inevitably lead to a lack of harmonisation, potential challenges and lesser protection for clean athletes," said Olivier Niggli, Wada's director general.
Niggli also expressed disappointment that an IOC ethics commission ruled that whistleblower athlete Yulia Stepanova could not go to Rio, even competing as a neutral.
"Wada has been very vocal in supporting Yulia's desire to compete as an independent athlete," Niggli said. "Ms. Stepanova was instrumental in courageously exposing the single biggest doping scandal of all time.
"Wada is very concerned by the message that this sends whistleblowers for the future."
Meanwhile, Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has branded IOC's decision not to impose a blanket ban on Russia as "spineless" and expressed surprise that more athletes were not speaking out.
The IOC rejected calls for Russia to be banned from the Rio Games over its doping record on Sunday, putting the onus on international sports federations to decide whether individual athletes should be allowed to compete.
"We know the pros and the cons of a blanket ban, we know the risks of 'collective justice', but we also know the risk of not punishing a culture of doping that comes from the very top," Rutherford told the Guardian. I would say that the latter is a much greater threat to sport. We've certainly not been given a clear message of transparency and progress. But no, what we have now is a messy, grey area that doesn't help anyone.
"This is a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides."

By Agencies

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