A global leader of the anti-doping movement has quit the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to protest the body’s surprise recommendation that Russia’s anti-doping agency be re-instated as a member in good standing.
Canadian cross-country skier and 2002 Winter Olympics gold medallist Beckie Scott confirmed she immediately resigned from WADA’s six-person compliance review committee.
Her departure came after WADA made changes to some of the most stringent requirements needed to bring RUSADA back into the fold after a nearly three-year suspension.
Ms Scott wasn’t the only one dissatisfied with the process.
German athletes’ representative Silke Kassner called on WADA to postpone next week’s decision on RUSADA’s status, blasting the world body for having learned “absolutely nothing” and implementing “a whole process much too intransparent and at late notice.”
The WADA executive committee meets next week to decide whether to accept the review panel’s recommendation.
The controversy centres on WADA’s softening of its initial demand that Russia accept and acknowledge the findings of an investigation which concluded that its government directed an intricate and officially endorsed doping scheme that led to the country winning undeserved Olympic medals.
In place of that requirement WADA has indicated its willingness to accept an admission based on the findings of the IOC-appointed Schmid Commission, which took a far less harsh view of the Russian government’s role in the scheme.
The Schmid report placed the blame on “a number of individuals within the Ministry of Sport and its subordinated entities”.
This wording effectively lets the Ministry of Sport off the hook as an institution for organising and overseeing the doping, instead placing the blame instead on unnamed individuals.
In an email sent to media, WADA defended its move, insisting it “has been leading the drive to ensure that Russia meets the Roadmap in full.”
That wasn’t good enough for Ms Scott, who launched her anti-doping crusade after realising she and fellow “clean” athletes were being robbed of medals by drug cheats.
“To discover it was all a fraud was devastating,” she told an interviewer in 2017.
RUSADA has since responded with a statement, saying it “fully accepted the decision of the IOC Executive Board … based on the findings of the Schmid report.”
Regarding the data and dope-test samples WADA has demanded as part of the investigation, Russian officials say they will be handed over only after “the reinstatement of RUSADA and the consent of the Russian Investigative Committee”.
WADA, in its email, said if the data isn’t provided within a strict time limit, then the review committee will recommend to the executive committee that RUSADA be again declared noncompliant.