The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee held its second meeting of the year on May 15th. During the meeting, a number of topics were discussed including the response to COVID-19 and the status of the RUSADA compliance case.
One of the most important points to come out of this meeting is the state of the RUSADA non-compliance investigation. As reported last year, the Moscow lab of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was found to be testing samples without full WADA accreditation since 2016. As a result, the lab was investigated and all samples from the lab were sent to be retested, with 145 samples coming back positive. Now, Russia is facing further investigations into a state-sponsored doping program, and possibly facing a 4 year non-compliance ban from all international competitions.
Although WADA is unable to comment on RUSADA’s impending CAS hearing or provide any specific names of the 145 athletes caught in the re-tests, the organization said in its meeting that it is confident that with the postponement of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games its decision will be made well before they begin. However, WADA did state that it has investigated 298 Russian athletes thus far, with 4 more adverse analytical findings since April 30th, bringing the total to 61.
Speaking about the meeting, WADA’s President Witold Banka said, “Today, the WADA ExCo had productive discussions aimed at moving the Agency’s clean sport agenda forward despite the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19. It was very encouraging to hear about the significant advances made by WADA’s team in these challenging times of pandemic. I believe that the decisions the ExCo took and recommendations it recorded to be made to the Board will provide a strong platform for WADA Management to further progress key projects and matters in the coming months.”
Another topic discussed during the meeting was the response to COVID-19. Although many doping agencies around the world dis-continued testing as a result of the pandemic, WADA is looking ahead with reopening plans. In order to help facilitate this process, the agency announced that it is attempting to put together a Strategic Testing Work Group to advise agencies around the world about the best ways to resume testing.