Russian track and field athletes could be banned from the 2016 Olympics after an independent report detailed an apparently state-sponsored doping program.
Commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and carried out by ex-president Dick Pound, the findings uncovered a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” within Russian athletics.
Asked if it amounted to state-sponsored doping, Pound told a news conference: “In the sense of consenting to it, there’s no other conclusion.”
The report says over 1,400 samples had been “intentionally and maliciously” destroyed by a Moscow laboratory even after a WADA plea to preserve them.
It even suggests the London 2012 Olympics — in which Russia won 24 gold medals — were “in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing.”
It criticizes an “inexplicable laissez-fair policy” adopted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) — the sport’s governing body — and recommends five athletes and five coaches are issued with life bans.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was not immediately available for comment.
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