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MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) chartered a schedule for collection of doping samples from national athletes for the period of up to 2018, Tatian Chirkina, the agency’s acting director general, said on Tuesday.
"Our (RUSADA’s) department for planning and testing already operates at its full capacity," Chirkina told journalists.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued permission in late June allowing the RUSADA to plan doping tests and collect samples under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency UKAD.
"We have received an official letter from the WADA on June 28 informing us that we were granted the right for planning and testing under the supervision of the UKAD and two independently-appointed experts working with us," she said. "We have already drawn the plan until the yearend and submitted it with the UKAD for approval."
"This plan was eventually approved and we keep up with our work on testing," Chirkina stated.
The acting director general of RUSADA said that the WADA-appointed two independent experts would be allowed to continue their work in Russia even in case the country’s anti-doping agency was reinstated with the global organization.
"Independent experts were initially assigned to work until the spring of 2018," she said. "However, the term of their work will not depend at all on the decision (of WADA) on RUSADA in November."
The WADA announced in April of 2016 that it appointed two independent experts to monitor Russia’s implementation of requirements for its reinstatement with the world’s governing anti-doping agency.
The two independent experts were confirmed by WADA as Peter Nicholson from Australia, who specializes in international criminal investigations, and who was also part of the 2015 Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC); and Ieva Lukosiute-Stanikuniene, the Director of the Lithuanian Anti-Doping Agency and Chair of the Council of Europe Advisory Group on Education.
"We are very grateful to these experts for their constant assistance and provided consultations," Chirkina stated.
She also said that the Russian anti-doping body was aiming to set up a country-wide system for testing national athletes.
"We have already formed a pool of doping control inspectors in the cities of Moscow and Sochi and plan to set up similar pools in other regions of Russia as well," she said. "With the granted approval from the UKAD, the RUSADA can now independently carry out the training program for future inspectors."
"We aim for creating a network of inspectors covering the whole country in order to promptly and effectively carry out testing of all athletes despite their place of residence," Chirkina added.
Speaking about the national anti-doping body’s perspectives and the chief management staff in particular, Chirkina said that RUSADA had been in the competition process to elect the agency’s new director general.
“We have opened a competition process to elect a new director general of RUSADA,” she said. “The first stage of this competition has been already concluded. We are expecting to elect a new director general at the next session of our Supervisory Board.”
“The competition was extremely transparent and unbiased and all requirements for the candidates to this post were published on our official website,” Chirkina said. “We have set up a special commission on the selection of candidates and two independent experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency were part of that commission.”
“In all, the commission has reviewed a total of over 700 candidates’ applications,” according to RUSADA’s acting director general. “I cannot say how many candidates made it to the second stage of elections since I am not a member of the commission.”
“However, I believe that by the time of WADA auditors’ visit we will be certain about the director general’s post,” she said. “A session of the Supervisory Board has been tentatively scheduled for late August.”
On May 18, the WADA Board of Directors convened for a session in Montreal, Canada, to review the progress of Russia’s implementation of the global anti-doping body’s roadmap requirements aimed at reinstating the country’s currently suspended membership in WADA.
The organization concluded that Russia had achieved certain progress in bringing its anti-doping system in line with the global requirements, but added that other criteria still remained to be implemented.
Less than two years ago the WADA Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to the activities of RUSADA, the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and the Russian Sports Ministry, and announced the results of the probe on November 9, 2015.
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. The work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and RUSADA was eventually suspended.
Starting last year’s January control over anti-doping regulations in Russian sports has been exercised by RUSADA strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).