DOPING: WADA sending “technical mission” to Moscow next week

The World Anti-Doping Agency announced last Friday that “A full technical mission from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will be in Russia next week to retrieve data from the former Moscow Laboratory.

“The five-person delegation will travel to Moscow on Monday 17 December to access the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and the underlying raw data of the Laboratory, as required by WADA’s Executive Committee decision of 20 September. The team will be led by independent expert Dr. José Antonio (Toni) Pascual, who is a research scientist and academic in Barcelona, Spain with 30 years’ experience in anti-doping, including 25 years in laboratory management. It is expected the data extraction will take three days to complete.”

This is a crucial part of the protocol for the Russians to satisfy in order to be able to maintain their compliant status with WADA. The statement further noted:

“Under the terms of the 20 September decision to reinstate RUSADA as compliant, the Russian authorities must also procure that any re-analysis of samples required by WADA following review of the laboratory data is completed by no later than 30 June 2019.

“The data contained within the laboratory will need to be fully assessed and verified, which will take some time. They will then be used, in conjunction with the re-analysis of samples as required, to build cases against athletes who cheated.”

The last requirement for the Russians will be to provide samples to WADA as requested from those stored at the lab for re-analysis. That will satisfy WADA’s requirements, but the IAAF (for track & field) and the IBU (for biathlon) have also required the technical data and access to samples for their own purposes. The IAAF continues to maintain Russia on suspension, allowing only a small number of athletes to compete internationally, on a case-by-case basis and only as an “Approved Neutral Athlete” and not in Russian uniforms.