New report reveals obstruction of doping testing in Russia
Photo: Joe Flintman/Flickr
16.06.2016By Play the Game
Several tests avoided, fake samples provided and testers threatened by security officers are some of the cases reported in an update on interim doping testing in Russia, released on Wednesday 15 June by WADA. The report includes information on 2947 doping tests that were conducted on Russian athletes between 18 November 2015 and 29 May 2016.
In February, WADA started working with the UK anti-doping agency, UKAD, and between February and March this year, UKAD carried out 455 doping tests on Russian athletes, 73 of which could not be collected because the athlete was absent. There were 111 whereabout failures and 52 positive tests. in the same period, 736 test requests were denied.
According to the report, Russian athletes and coaches go to great lengths to avoid testing situations, sometimes by the help of Russian security services.
The report says that military cities are often used as location of whereabouts because “[a]thletes know that special permission is needed to gain access” and that the use of these cities is meant to deter test planning.. In general, WADA reports a low frequency of whereabout updates as well a poor quality of whereabout information.
A part from athlete evasion in different forms, WADA also reports incidents of tampering with doping testing procedures, restricted access for doping testers at sports events and delays in result management, partly due to the fact that "[a]ll samples must pass through Moscow, making transport time long and contributes to the lack of ability to collect blood samples".
In a statement to PA Sport, WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said that a cultural change is required before Russia can embrace a clean sport.
"The report today outlines some of the serious challenges faced in implementing an effective testing programme in Russian Federation, and it indicates that much work still needs to be done".
The content of the report has been shared with the IAAF whose decision on the fate of Russian athletics will be released on 17 June 2016.