Post Mortem

On Russia’s ban in Olympics

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/10/2019 12:38:55 PM IST

 It is indeed sad to learn that Russia was banned from the world’s top sporting events for four years on Monday; including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 World Cup for tempering with doping tests. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee in Switzerland acted after concluding that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping test in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

WADA confirmed that the Russian national team could not take part in the 2022 World Cup soccer in Qatar under the Russian flag and could participate only as neutrals. However, it is not clear how competing as neutrals at the World Cup might work in practice. Meanwhile, FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, said it was in contact with WADA to clarify the extent of the decision. Anyway, the Russian sportsmen and sportswomen will not be able to perform at the Olympics in Tokyo next year under their own flag and national anthem.
It may be pertinent to note that Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics. Many of Russia’s athletes were sidelined from the past two Olympics and Russia was stripped of its flag altogether at the last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.
One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, suspended in 2015 but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provides an authentic copy of the laboratory data. However, the punishment leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete at big international events without their flag or anthem for the next years, something they did at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Meanwhile, some Russians officials have tried to cast WADA’s behavior as part of what they say is a broader Western attempt to hold back Moscow. In another development, Travis Tygart, head of the United states Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said the failure to impose a complete ban was ‘yet another devastating blow to clean athletes.’ Now it remains to be seen whether how it is going to be affected the World Olympics in Tokyo and the World Cup in Qatar. 
If the Russian athletes cannot participate in the coming Olympics, then the Olympics would be like beef without mustard, because the Russia is still a sports powerhouse that showcases brilliant performances often setting up new world standard. 
T K Nandanan

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