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USADA set to demand from IOC to suspend Russia from Rio Olympics

July 16, 23:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The USADA head Travis Tygart believes that "a full suspension is the only available and appropriate result having regard to the findings and conclusions set out in the report."
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Travis Tygart

Travis Tygart


MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) head Travis Tygart is set to demand from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach that the Russian Olympic and Paralympic teams be suspended from taking part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. The decision should be taken not later than July 26, Tygart says in his draft letter, obtained by TASS.

On Monday, the WADA Independent Commission led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren is expected to release a report on doping manipulations at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. In the meantime, Tygart says in his draft letter that McLaren’s probe has confirmed the state has been patronizing the system of doping in Russia.

"The Independent Investigation led by respected international arbitrator and law professor Richard McLaren confirmed a shocking pattern of long term, systemic and state·sponsored doping and interference with anti·doping processes by the country of Russia. The evidence included intentional subversion of the anti·doping processes at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, and in many other international competitions, and systematic undermining of the drug testing of Russian athletes for many years in a successful effort to cheat to win," the draft letter says.

"The McLaren Report confirms that this conduct was directed by the Russian Ministry of Sport and assisted by Russian government intelligence services. In so doing, Russia intentionally violated the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, the Olympic Charter, the World Anti·Doping Code," it reads.

"The harm imposed on the Games and upon thousands of clean athletes by this conduct is irreparable. Yet, it is clear that strong and decisive action must be taken to uphold the rules and restore the shaken faith of so many," he says.

The IOC should ensure standards of the Olympic movement should be preserved and everything possible should be done to prevent any country from "that conduct such as that engaged by Russia."

In this regard, the USADA head believes that "a full suspension is the only available and appropriate result having regard to the findings and conclusions set out in the report."

At the same time, Tygard says that exceptions might be made for individual Russian athletes who can prove that they have mothing in common with the Russian doping system living outside of Russia. However, they can compete only under a neutral flag.

"Considering the fast approaching opening of the Olympic Games, we respectfully request that the IOC act by no later than July 26, 2016 to confirm that Russia and its Olympic and Paralympic Committee and all Russian sport federations shall not participate in the Rio Olympic Games," the letter says.

What happened

In mid-May in an interview with New York Times, former head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov told Western media that Russian athletes allegedly used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval from the national sports authorities.

Rodchenkov claimed that that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Rodchenkov added that some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances.

Rodchenkov said he is ready to provide evidence to WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and also evidence about the need to re-check the doping samples from the 2014 Winter Olympics kept in Lausanne.

Earlier, the WADA Independent Commission with Professor Richard McLaren as its member looked into activities of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry. The commission published a report that suspended the anti-doping lab operation, announced RUSADA non-compliant with the WADA Code and suspended ARAF’s (All-Russian Athletics Federation) membership in the global governing body of athletics IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend All-Russian Athletics Federation’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a set of criteria, which ARAF was obliged to implement to restore its membership.

Starting this year doping control in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

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