Athletes the world over, especially Russia, are uptight over recent announcement by International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over drug-related issues.
Photo: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach
IOC and WADA have announced that they are to retest samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games ahead of the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The results are expected to come forth in a number of weeks or months.
The testings will focus on athletes who are likely to compete in Rio 2016 and a specialist task force to gather intelligence and to advise on testing in Rio has already been set up by the governing bodies.
Earlier, an independent report by Dick Pound produced in November, former head of the anti-doping agency, detailed systemic doping in Russia along with an establishment effort to cover it up.
He further recommended that Russia be banned from various athletic competitions, which it duly was by International Association of Athletics Federations [IAAF].
Recently, a top Russian athlete, Maria Sharapova who was formerly World Number One Tennis Woman confessed to have failed doping test in Australia Open in February, 2016.
Targeting particular nations and athletes who are set to compete in Rio 2016, it is hoped new technology will uncover any questionable results and prevent those under suspicion from taking part.
“The aim is to prevent athletes who cheated in London or Beijing, and got away with it because we didn’t have as advanced methods of analysis as we do now, from competing in Rio de Janeiro,” the IOC’s medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said in a statement.
“We are trying passionately to protect those clean athletes who are going to Rio 2016. And the best way to do that is to catch the cheats and deter the cheats before we get to Rio de Janeiro.”
Athletics has been under the microscope since the explosive report by former WADA chief Dick Pound uncovered the state-sponsored doping program in Russia.
The report suggested the London 2012 Olympics — in which Russia won 24 gold medals and finished fourth — were “in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing.”
It has been banned from competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and its participation in Rio is in doubt.
IAAF president, Seb Coe, told CNN in January there was no time scale for Russia’s return to competition. He admitted these were “dark days” for the sport.
We are trying passionately to protect those clean athletes who are going to Rio 2016
The IOC also announced a WADA-run task force would be established to gather intelligence and target testing toward areas of concern throughout the games.
“The specialist task force will advise the IOC and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee who they should be testing, both in and out of competition,” the statement read.
“This intelligence will be used to refine the testing plan day by day during the period of the Games to produce the most effective and efficient testing programme possible.”
WADA president Craig Reedie also called on broadcasters and sponsors to do their bit in the battle against doping during a speech in Switzerland.
There have been calls for the organization to widen its investigations to several other countries after the revelations about Russia.
“If full-blown investigations are to become the norm, then we must of course seriously explore greater funding,” he told reporters.
“I have heard ever-more vociferous calls for a slice of the millions of dollars that are paid for sport television revenue to be provided to the anti-doping cause.
“This is a bold idea. I put it to the leading sport federations and broadcasters. Now is the time to look at this seriously.
“I also think that major sport sponsors should start to consider how they might help fund clean sport.”
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