Russia banned from sports events Clean athletes can still join events as individuals

RUSSIA (俄羅斯) was banned from the world’s top sporting events for four years on 9 December, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 football World Cup, for tampering with doping tests.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) executive committee acted after concluding that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.
The decision was a huge blow to the pride of a nation that has traditionally been a powerhouse in many sports but whose reputation has been tarnished by a series of doping scandals.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” Wada President Craig Reedie said after a meeting of Wada’s executive committee in the Swiss (瑞士的) city of Lausanne. He added in a statement Russia’s actions had demanded a robust response.
Wada confirmed the Russian national team could not take part in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (卡塔爾) under the Russian flag and could participate only as neutrals.
It was not clear how competing as neutrals at the World Cup might work in practice. Fifa, football’s world governing body, said it was in contact with Wada to clarify the extent of the decision.
The ban also means Russian sportsmen and sportswomen will not be able to perform at the Olympics in Tokyo (東京) next year under their own flag and national anthem.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has come under attack for not taking a harder line on Russian doping, said it fully backed the ruling.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizing committee said it would welcome all athletes as long as they were clean and working with other organisations to fully implement antidoping measures, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said.
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 last year’s Pyeongchang (平昌) Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping coverups at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The sanctions, which also include a fouryear ban on Russia hosting major sporting events, were recommended by Wada’s compliance review committee in response to the doctored laboratory data provided by Moscow this year.
The punishment leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete at big international events without their flag or anthem for the next four years, something they did at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

(This article is published on the Student Standard on 13 December 2019)