RUSADA Boss: ‘Thousands’ Of Changes Made To Moscow Doping Data Before WADA Got Access

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Moscow Doping Data Manipulated, says RUSADA Boss

Thousands of changes were made to the Moscow Laboratory data before it was handed over to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), according to Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director general Yury Ganus.

In a world exclusive report and interview by Christina Hebel in Der Spiegel in Germany, Ganus claims that manipulation, including names of athletes being changed on sample results, was still taking place in December last year and January this year in some cases.

That means that at a time when Russia was to be allowed back into the international sporting fold as a full member as long at it handed over to WADA data still missing from its Moscow laboratory and previous investigations buy the international anti-doping agency, agents were busy manipulating results to conceal more evidence of a large-scale doping program systematic in nature.

Ganus believes the manipulation was deliberate. He said that changes to the data finally handed over to WADA in January, after the original deadline for doing so, were too “large and significant” to be a coincidence. Ganus told Der Spiegel:

“It’s not about deleting entire data packets, but changing or moving them in different places. Someone has tried to hush up information on a large scale. It could also be about athletes’ names. It’s not just about what was, the record of 2015, but also about how the material was changed afterwards. We’re speaking about months, the most recent changes date from December 2018 and January 2019.

When “inconsistencies” were discovered, WADA, after lengthy consideration, gave Russia a three-week deadline to come up with explanations. Russian has responded to that request with a week to go. It remains to be seen if the explanations will be accepted. If they are not, then Russia faces a whole-nation ban from all sports, WADA has stated.

Russia must explain why there are significant and widespread differences between the Laboratory Information Management System database provided to WADA by a whistleblower in October 2017 and the version finally handed over to WADA in January this year.

Threat Of Whole-Nation Ban – Again…

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia

Ganus’ revelation to Der Spiegel strengthens the case for Russia to be declared “non-compliant” by WADA, the subsequent penalty likely to include a ban Russia sending teams to Tokyo 2020.

We’ve been here before since reports in British newspapers post-London 2012 and then the ARD documentaries exposing the systematic nature of the Russian doping crisis was exposed in late 2014 just after international swim fed bosses at FINA had granted Russian President Vladimir Putin its highest honour.

The same threat was made before Rio 2016 but its enforcement was patchy, with some athletes still able to race in Russian colours but the Olympic flag used for medal ceremonies. The issues raised by the pre-Rio controversies remain unresolved.

In swimming, a list of Russian swimmers whose names were part of data that appeared to have been “manipulated”, neither fault nor innocence of the athlete implied, was issued alongside an order barring them from racing at Rio 2016.

No cases were quite the same but through appeal and FINA decision, all the swimmers concerned were declared free to race in Rio. To this day, no explanation has been given as to the precise nature of the problem with the samples of those swimmers. Some belonged to a batch of samples from an event held in Russia about a year out from the 2016 Olympics that appeared to have been manipulated. It is not clear if any of this cases belong to the latest data under the spotlight.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov issued a statement published by the official state news agency TASS, saying that Russia had responded to all of WADA’s 31 questions on the “inconsistencies” in the data. “We are confident that we have fulfilled all demands,” he said.

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