Russian Rewards ‘Make Me Sick’, Says Former WADA Chief

David Howman has lambasted handling of Russia's systemic doping program in the lead-up to the 2016 Games by the International Olympic Committee.

David Howman

The former World Anti-Doping Agency chief remarked the IOC, which is led by German Thomas Bach, had abdicated responsibility. The New Zealander, whose 13-year tenure as WADA's director-general ended in June, said here was an opportunity for a head of the world of sport to stand up for principles like fair play and supporting clean athletes and WADA had done its work. Howman added WADA made the report on the corruption in Russia available and said apparently it wasn't good enough, despite being based on clear evidence.

Howman remarked the IOC lack strong leadership and they require consensus instead of leading. The former WADA boss said it was a total waste of time to divert the decision-making on Russian participation to each individual international federation and added there is absolutely no need to have the IOC if the individual international federations are supposed to run the Olympic Games.

The former chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency said the current IOC chief was among those to acclaim the latest set of WADA doping rules that came in on January 1, 2015 which enabled the organization to investigate Russia more thoroughly and unearthed whistleblowers in former 800m runner Yuliya Stepanova and her husband Vitali Stepanov, a former anti-doping official. Last year, the accounts of Vitali and Yuliya were broadcast in a German television documentary that were described by Russian anti-doping agency boss Nikita Kamaev as "wanton speculation" and sports minister Vitaly Mutko called it a ploy to "belittle Russian sport".

The recent WADA report issued by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren provided credibility to the claims made by Vitali and Yuliya. The report accused the sports ministry of Russia of overseeing a doping conspiracy. However, the IOC managed to avoid taking the "hard decision" and Bach defended position of the IOC before the Games and said a total ban on Russia "would not be justifiable" on either moral or legal grounds. Bach remarked every human being is entitled to certain rights of natural justice. The IOC chief went on to remark that the International Olympic Committee had set a "very high bar" by imposing strict conditions on the entry of Russians, including a ban on any athletes with prior doping sanctions.

Howman had predicted that Professor Richard McLaren’s new report into the recent claims made by the former Russian anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov in the New York Times, about the details of how the anti-doping process was subverted in Sochi in 2014, would be of much wider significance. Howman had remarked he has total confidence in McLaren and the team around him and also had commented that he has got pretty strong confidence in is that Rodchenkov wouldn’t have been reported as strongly as it was by the New York Times if there was not corroborative evidence showing it was true. The former World Anti-Doping Agency chief said you can almost bet your boots that he has corroborative witnesses or corroborative evidence showing it is true.


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