Kremlin ‘optimistic’ ahead of WADA doping ruling

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MOSCOW (AP) – Russia is “optimistic” ahead of a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling on whether the country’s authorities met demands to turn over lab data, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Tuesday.

The WADA executive committee reinstated Russia’s anti-doping agency in September – despite protests from many Western athletes and officials – on condition the country turned over data from a Moscow laboratory. The data could help WADA pursue doping cases against many top Russian athletes for past offenses.

WADA representatives left Moscow with the data last week but only after Russia missed a Dec. 31 deadline.

“Our sports authorities have clearly made the maximum effort to arrange the work of the WADA representatives in Moscow, to arrange all the necessary procedures and contacts,” said Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. “So in Moscow everyone is optimistic.”

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had called for the Russian agency, known as RUSADA, to be suspended for missing the deadline, though WADA said it preferred to wait for the data.

Russian law enforcement sealed off the lab and its data after the former director, Grigory Rodchenkov, testified to WADA that he covered up doping for several years and swapped doped Russian athletes’ samples for clean urine during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

WADA president Craig Reedie on Thursday hailed the recovery of the data as “a major breakthrough for clean sport,” but said WADA couldn’t yet be sure the information was genuine.

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FILE – In this Tuesday, May 24, 2016 file photo, Grigory Dudko opens a door for journalists during a visit to Russia’s national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says Russia is “optimistic” ahead of a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling Tuesday Jan. 22, 2019, on whether the country’s authorities met demands to turn over lab data. The WADA executive committee reinstated Russia’s anti-doping agency in September 2018 on condition the country turned over data from a Moscow laboratory. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
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