WADA: More Russian athletes could face doping charges
Last Updated: 30/04/20 7:07pm
Another wave of Russian athletes could face new doping charges after the World Anti-Doping Agency announced it had completed its investigation of a vast backlog of evidence.
After obtaining a data archive from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory last year, WADA investigators focused on a target pool of 298 athletes, putting together evidence packages for other sports authorities to prosecute.
WADA said the athletes came from sports governed by 27 different international federations, but did not say which.
"The Russian doping crisis has dominated WADA's time and resources over the past five years and the agency's investigations team has been on the front line," WADA president Witold Banka said in a statement.
"I would like to thank them for their diligence, professionalism and expertise, as well as the organisations that have now received case packages for the work they will do and their ongoing cooperation in protecting clean sport and for bringing as many cheats to justice as possible.
"This is not the end of the road. There is still more re-analysis of the samples retrieved from the former Moscow Laboratory that is ongoing. This re-analysis process, led by WADA, has already uncovered 57 cases that are in the results management phase.
"This is in addition to dozens of cases that have already been brought and procedures that have been opened by International Federations based on evidence uncovered by 'Operation LIMS' in weightlifting, biathlon and athletics, as well as other cases in various sports that resulted from the Pound and McLaren investigations commissioned by WADA between 2014 and 2016."
Prosecuting the cases could be extremely difficult. WADA has argued the data archive was manipulated while in Russia, with some evidence deleted and false trails laid. That's the basis of an ongoing legal battle to ban Russia from the Olympics and other major events for four years.
Of the 298 athletes WADA has investigated, it says it found signs of manipulation in files relating to 145 of them.