Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Blake stands with IAAF's Athletes' Commission - WADA urged to reject move to reinstate Russian Anti-Doping Agency

Published:Thursday | September 20, 2018 | 12:17 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Russian hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov (centre) was allowed to compete at the 2017 World Championships as an Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA).
Blake
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Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Dr Warren Blake has declared his full support for a letter sent by the IAAF's Athletes Commission to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) denouncing a recommendation from the Compliance Review Committee to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

In its letter sent yesterday, the IAAF Athletes' Commission urged WADA to follow the original road map for compliance in the Richard McLaren Report at its executive meeting today. It also stated that RUSADA cannot be declared compliant until all outstanding conditions in the road map have been satisfied and that any compromises will tarnish WADA's reputation and bring global sports into disrepute. The McLaren Report claimed that hundreds of Russians benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015.

"The letter is seeking to put pressure on WADA to vote a certain way. The (compliance review) committee made recommendations that WADA executives will vote on and the recommendation is they should allow RUSADA back in the fold," Dr Blake said.

However, he pointed out that RUSADA has no control over its reinstatement as that was dependent on the Russia government admitting its involvement and he does not see that happening.

 

'IT'S POLITICS'

 

"The sticking points are things out of RUSADA's ambit. It's politics," Blake declared. "This calls for Russia's government to admit publicly that McLaren's report is correct and that the Russian state was behind the doping. But, personally, I don't think the Russian government is going to do that, and RUSADA cannot admit on behalf of the government that they were behind any wrongdoing," he continued.

"To fulfil all the steps, they must do what the road map calls for (admittance of state involvement). So I see a stalemate because I do not see the Russian government making that kind of admission," he added

In 2015, a massive doping scandal rocked Russian sports, and track and field athletes from that country were subsequently banned by the sport's governing body. However, some athletes from Russia have been allowed to compete independently since then.

Although Blake is yet to discuss the matter with his executive, he strongly believes Russian athletes should be barred from all competitions and stripped of their 'neutral' status until the Russian government can comply with the report.

"It will be difficult for RUSADA to meet all the requirements without the Russian government making some very humbling admissions. That is what the road map asked for, and I don't think we are going to see that happen. Russian athletes are already competing. You can call them any name you want, they are Russians. Whether you call them neutral or authorised, they are Russian athletes. But the Russians refuse to admit the state was doing everything McLaren alleged in his report, so we should not be competing with any Russian under any other name.

"The world knows them as Russians, so it's a double standard. WADA and the world sporting body will have to decide if they want to compete with Russia or don't want to compete with Russia," Blake insisted.

Meanwhile, the letter, supported by 15 members of the IAAF Athletes' Commission, including Jamaica's Michael Frater and chairman Inaki Gomez of Canada, added: " ... the conditions in the road map are appropriate, proportionate, and more important, grounded on principles of transparency and integrity.

"The road map was created and approved by you. Our request is simple: follow the rules that you've created the same way we are expected to. You owe it to all clean athletes to be the guardians of clean sport."