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Russian biathlon chief says WADA ban on Russian athletes linked to politics

Vladimir Drachev said that It is a violation of human rights

HOCHFILZEN /Austria/, December 14. /TASS/. The ban for Russian athletes to compete under a national flag at world championships and Olympic Games is politically motivated, President of Russia’s Biathlon Union Vladimir Drachev told reporters in Austria’s Hochfilzen on Saturday.

The WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) approved on December 9 the recommendations of its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to annul the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as well as to strip Russia of the right to participate in major international sports tournaments, including the Olympics, Paralympics and world championships, for the period of four years.

"I do not claim that WADA lies," Drachev said. "I am saying that the team’s performance without a flag or anthem is purely political. If there are real problems with doping, we will support the enquiry and will suspend athletes. But when the whole team and the country are blamed groundlessly, it is wrong. It is a violation of human rights, of rights of the athletes who deserve to compete under their flag and sing the anthem."

The WADA ExCo also ruled on December 9 that Russia must not host, or bid for or be granted in the four-year period any major international sports tournament. Russian state officials, as well as the officials of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC), were banned from attending all major international sports tournaments for the period of four years.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has the right to appeal WADA’s ruling with the Swiss-based CAS within 21 days. In case RUSADA decides against submitting an appeal, it can be also filed by heads of the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees as well as by heads of the international sports federations.