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Russian doping scandals overshadow the WADA summit

Twenty years after its establishment, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meets for the fifth World Conference in the Polish city of Katowice from Tuesday to Thursday.


Officially, the reasons for the meeting are to adopt a new anti-doping code and elect a new president.

However, it is the longstanding case of Russian state doping and institutional fraud that will dominate the forthcoming session.

A scandal that refuses to be silenced but at the same time is not on the agenda of the WADA executive committee in Poland, as no possible sanctions have been raised in Russia.

The case, which has dominated the global fight against doping - and how it will deal with it - for the past five years, re-emerged in September amid suspected manipulation of electronic data by the former Moscow laboratory handed over to investigators. of WADA at the beginning of 2019.

These revelations could lead to new sanctions, such as the ban on the 2020 at the Tokyo Olympics, as the fight against doping is accelerating following Russia's condemnation of state-sponsored fraud between 2011 and 2015.

The Russian Athletics Federation has been banned from the 2015 international competition.

The latest allegations are still under investigation and WADA hopes to reach a decision by the end of the year.

Last month, the situation became even more noisy when the Microsoft has revealed that Russian hackers, Fancy Bears, have tried to attack the computer systems of many global anti-doping agencies.

The next world code to combat doping is due to be adopted on Thursday and is expected to be more flexible in positive outcomes than the use of so-called psychotropic drugs, such as cocaine or cannabis.

If the substances are found to be taken without aiming to enhance athletic performance, elimination from the races will be only three months or even a month if the athlete agrees to undergo a detoxification program.


Currently, the use of cocaine is theoretically punishable by four years of miscarriage, like any other banned substance.

However, the penalties are often lighter - for example, Peruvian football star Paolo Guerrero was sentenced to 14 months in May of 2018, though that ban was lifted in time to play in the World Cup in Russia.

This planned change is likely to raise reactions among those for whom anti-doping is the protection of public health.

WADA General Manager Olivier Niggli said: “Our goal is to control anti-doping, so it's about sports. Protecting health worldwide is a matter for each country. "

As a huge surprise, today's Polish Minister of Sport, Witold Banka, will be elected WADA's new president on Thursday.

He will succeed British Craig Reedie, who came from the ranks of the Olympic movement and completes his work at the age of 78 years after two terms shaded by the Russian doping crisis.

Banka, just 35 years old and a former runner of 400 measures, is a member of the WADA Executive Committee and has pledged to maintain good relations between states and the sports world.

He tried to separate himself from his main rival, Norwegian politician Linda Helleland, who had promised to be much stricter with the Olympic movement, which he accused of leniency with the Russians.

Banka will take office on January 1 next year and is expected to leave the Polish government.


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