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WADA welcomes IOC disqualification of Russian skiers

On Wednesday, the IOC slapped with life bans two Russian cross-country skiers, Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov

MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomes the International Olympic Committee’s decision to disqualify two Russian skiers, the agency’s press service has said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the IOC slapped with life bans two Russian cross-country skiers, Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov, over doping abuse accusations and also ruled to annul their results from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Their doping probes revealed no presence of banned substances, the two athletes were disqualified because tubes with their test samples had scratches which, according to IOC Member Denis Oswald, suggested that they were tampered with.

"WADA is encouraged by the Oswald Commissions’ decisions," said WADA Director General Olivier Niggli. "In addition to validating Professor McLaren’s findings, they also send a powerful signal to athletes and others that, even years later, evidence can be unveiled to sanction athletes or others with anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) under the World Anti-Doping Code (Code)."

"The Agency anticipates the Oswald Commission’s timely completion of the remaining 26 hearings against Russian athletes; as well as, of the Schmid Commission that is addressing Russia’s institutionalized manipulation of the doping control process exposed by the McLaren Investigation," said Craig Reedie, WADA President. "We are confident that the outcomes of these investigative processes combined will prove invaluable to defending athletes’ rights to clean competition."

In July 2016, the IOC set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as alleged involvement of state officials in manipulations with performance enhancing drugs, particularly at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi.

The first of the two commissions is an Inquiry Commission, chaired by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. The commission is looking into accusations set out in the McLaren report that alleges the existence of a supposed institutional conspiracy in Russia’s summer and winter sports, in which the country’s state officials were allegedly engaged in.

The second investigative body at the issue is a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC Member Denis Oswald. This commission is tasked to address alleged doping uses and manipulation of samples concerning the Russian athletes, who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

The findings by the two commissions will serve as a basis for a decision on whether the Russian national team should be allowed to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.