Russia to face sports blockade?

Russia to face sports blockade?

A dark cloud is hovering over the Russian athletes again: the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was recommended to bar Russia from taking part in international competitions for a four-year period.

According to the WADA press service, the recommended ban comes after WADA investigators examined data from Russia's doping-tainted Moscow laboratory, which was handed over to WADA in January. WADA said that the data handed over was beset with problems, describing it as "neither complete nor fully authentic."

Thus, Russian athletes may not participate in or attend the following events to be held in the reported period, such as the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (summer and winter), Youth Olympic Games (summer and winter), or any other major international sporting event.

Moreover, top executives and members of the Executive Board/Governing Board of either the Russian Olympic Committee or the Russian Paralympic Committee may not participate in or attend any major sporting event staged during the four-year period.

However, even if access to major sporting competitions is granted, an athlete will not be able to compete under the national flag and will have to wear a neutral uniform. Besides, the committee suggests prohibiting hoisting the Russian flag at any major event throughout the entire term of the disqualification.

Also, Russia is prohibited from bidding to host major sporting events during the four-year period, regardless of whether the planned event is to take place during this period or later.

The WADA Executive Committee will consider the recommendations at a specially convened meeting in Paris on 9 December 2019. 

The writer, journalist, Vesti FM radio station host Armen Gasparyan, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that WADA hasn't stopped its anti-Russia activities for a day. "We just relaxed a bit after the good performance of our Olympic athletes in 2018 and the home World Cup," he said.

The expert is very skeptical. "I’m sure that they will do everything possible to continue this practice of 2018, when Russian athletes performed as 'Olympic Athletes from Russia' without an anthem and a flag. It’s quite obvious to me that now this will be relevant not only to the Olympics, but also to the 2022 World Cup," the writer explained.

"Unfortunately, WADA has long been turned into an instrument of political manipulation. Look at the Norwegian skiers with asthma in the third generation, who are allowed to take drugs that are forbidden to others. Look at the Williams sisters who receive a whole set of drugs for medical reasons, which are prohibited for athletes. WADA is perfect for the implementation of the West's ugly aggressive rhetoric against Russia," Armen Gasparyan emphasized.

WADA announced on September 23 that it had initiated a probe into the compliance status of RUSADA with the Code of the world’s governing anti-doping body based on the inconsistencies reportedly discovered in the data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory. The database contains information on athletes, who were tested for doping violations between 2012 and 2015.