Tag Archives: US Anti-Doping Agency

Alberto Salazar four years doping ban upheld

Former American track coach Alberto Salazar’s four-year suspension has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The 63-year-old was banned two years ago for a series of doping violations by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) but appealed against the decision.

Salazar ran the Nike Oregon Project , based in Beaverton, Oregon.

It was established in 2001 and was the home of British four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah.

Farah has not been accused of doping, and left the Oregon Project in 2017.

A BBC Panorama film revealed last year that Farah was questioned about his relationship with Salazar by US investigators in 2015, but he has never failed a doping test, nor been accused of doping. Salazar also coached Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, who took triple medals at the just concluded Tokyo 2020 in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m. It eventually resulted in bans for both Salazar and Nike endocrinologist Dr Geoffrey Brown, announced in October 2019.

Before he became a coach, Salazar was one of the most talented distance runners of his generation, winning the New York City marathon in 1980, 1981 and 1982. He is also famous for the ‘Duel in the Sun’ at the Boston Marathon in 1982.

Paula Radcliffe : Faith in Wada undermined

The reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency undermines the faith clean athletes have in the World Anti-Doping Agency, says marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.

Wada has ended a three-year suspension which followed a major scandal over alleged state-sponsored doping.

Briton Radcliffe is one of several leading current and former athletes to criticize Thursday’s decision.

“This goes against everything Wada is supposed to stand for,” she said.

“It undermines their credibility and the faith clean athletes have in them.”

‘To bank on the Russians is naive’

The Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) had been suspended since 2015 over alleged state-backed doping after it was accused of covering up drug abuse – including while the country hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – in a Wada-commissioned report.

Russia was ordered to meet set criteria before Rusada could be readmitted, which included accepting the findings of the McLaren report into state-sponsored doping and granting access to Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.

Last week, Wada’s compliance review committee recommended reinstatement after it received assurances from the Russian sports ministry that the country had “sufficiently acknowledged” failures.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the reinstatement, agreed by its executive committee at a meeting in the Seychelles, was “subject to strict conditions”.

However, Radcliffe said she felt Russia has “never accepted the harm they did to clean sport globally” and that the initial criteria set out by Wada “shouldn’t have been up for negotiation”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, she added: “You can’t move the goalposts now without destroying the credibility of Wada.”

On Wednesday, the BBC revealed details of a compromise proposed by Wada director general Olivier Niggli to Russia’s Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov on how to improve the country’s chances of readmission to international sport.

British Olympic track cycling champion Callum Skinner said lifting the ban was “incredibly disappointing” because Wada should be “there to protect clean sport, not there to protect the people they have sanctioned”.

“This is a step backwards in the fight towards making sport cleaner,” he said.

As part of the post-reinstatement conditions, Wada has demanded access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples by the end of 2018.

Skinner said it was “quite troubling” for Wada to rely on Rusada providing this access when it had not previously under the original conditions of reinstatement.

“To now bank on the Russians to hold up their end of the deal is naive,” he said.

What have other British athletes said?

Goldie Sayers is finally set to receive 2008 Olympic javelin bronze after Russia’s Mariya Abakumova, who initially won silver, was stripped of her medal and failed in her appeal against a doping ban.

Sayers, who retired last year, told BBC Radio 4 Rusada’s reinstatement was a “devastating blow for clean athletes” and that Wada had rushed into the decision.

“Leaders in sports governance forget who they are there to serve. We need governance that is there for the athletes because you do feel very powerless at times,” she said.

“There is a credibility issue in sport and Wada have not helped themselves in that at all. You have to accept that you have a problem before you can change and changing a culture takes years and years, not three years.”

Race walker Tom Bosworth called on Reedie to resign and accused the Wada president of having “let all clean, hard-working athletes down”.

Olympic breaststroke gold medallist Adam Peaty said Wada’s decision was an example of “how to lose the respect of all clean athletes real quick”.

Paralympic powerlifting silver medallist Ali Jawad said: “I’m sorry for every clean athlete around the world let down by Wada. We will keep fighting for our rights to compete clean. I promise we will win the fight one day. We may have lost the battle today but we will win the war.”

Commonwealth 5,000m bronze medallist Laura Weightman said: “Wada should be protecting all the hard-working, clean athletes out there, but they have let us all down.”

Grigory Rodchenkov speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan in February 2018

‘A slap in the face’ – reaction from anti-doping heads

US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) head Travis Tygart said the decision was a “catastrophic outcome” for clean athletes and sports fans.

“We all want every nation in the Olympics, particularly those that are competitive and powerful and influential like Russia – but not at the expense of the Olympic values,” he told BBC Sport.

“We trusted them, they cheated like never before.

“This is a slap in the face for those who put clean sport and fair play above sport politics and the influence that money and large countries have within the sport promotion arena.”

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) chief executive Nicole Sapstead said she was “incredibly saddened” by Wada’s move.

“Ukad had hoped the decision to reinstate Russia would be postponed, at least for a few months so that some due consideration could be given to the compromise that seems to have been put on the table,” she told the BBC.

“It’s important an entity like Wada exists – it is there to uphold a set of rules that apply to every country and every athlete. But that sort of organisation has to be beyond reproach, it has to uphold the stands and it has to be held to account when it hasn’t.

“Wada needs to move forward in a constructive way, it needs to repair the damage it has done to the athlete community and to the wider anti-doping community, and it needs to restore the trust we have in it.”

There was also objection within Wada, with two of the 12-strong executive committee voting against Rusada’s reinstatement – New Zealand’s Clayton Cosgrove and Wada vice-president Linda Helleland.

Norwegian politician Helleland, who hopes to replace Briton Reedie as Wada president next year, said the organisation had “failed the clean athletes of the world”.

“This casts a dark shadow over the credibility of the anti-doping movement – it was wrong to welcome Rusada back until they had fully and transparently met the roadmap.”

Rusada’s suspension was imposed in November 2015

The reaction from Russia

Russia has repeatedly denied running a state-sponsored doping programme and continued to deny full access to and retained control of its Moscow laboratory.

In a letter to Wada president Reedie last week, Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the significant achievements in rebuilding Rusada.”

Russian MP and 2006 Olympic speed skating champion Svetlana Zhurova echoed Kolobkov’s comments, saying “much has been done” to reform Rusada to “get to this stage”.

“We changed our legislation, we’ve travelled a long journey to correct mistakes and act on Wada’s comments,” she told the BBC.

“Russia has recognised and corrected nearly all the points in the McLaren report. Some of the points in that report even the Court of Arbitration of Sport didn’t recognise and some Russian sportsmen had their medals returned.”

She added that “Russia has been punished enough” and the “complaints don’t exist today”.

“If we keep looking back, at when Russia didn’t do this, we won’t make any progress,” she said.

“Of course, if someone in the West doesn’t want our athletes and Paralympians to compete, you will still hear voices saying: ‘Do not reinstate Rusada.’

“If you don’t want to see Russia as a rival in track and field and Paralympics, then I understand this – but this is more politics than common sense.”

Mo Farah tainted by Alberto Salazar link, says British marathon record holder

The British marathon record holder Steve Jones fears Mo Farah will always be tainted by his association with Alberto Salazar – and says he wishes he had left his former coach years ago.

Jones fully expects Farah to shatter his 33-year-old UK record of 2:07.13 during the London Marathon on Sunday and even thinks his fellow Briton could challenge for the world record one day. But he does not understand why Farah decided to stay loyal to Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project training group until 2017, two years after they started to be investigated by the US Anti-Doping Agency – an investigation that continues.

“Personally, I would have distanced myself,” Jones said. “I said that three years ago when this whole thing blew up about Salazar. The people at Portland thought I was telling Mo to quit Salazar and get away as far as possible. I was just saying distance yourself until it either all falls back into place or the stories became true.”

Jones, who is now a distance coach in Colorado, said he was well aware of Salazar’s reputation for pushing himself to the limits since he began racing him during the 80s. “We have had some times together and I know his abilities,” he said.

“I know he is a little crazy. In marathon we are all nuts and raisins. It is what level you are. Alberto always takes things to the nth degree. I think that is what he has done with his coaching and his training.”

Jones said Salazar’s well-publicised health problems – his heart stopped for 14 minutes in 2007 – may have been a consequence of driving himself too hard. “That is what happens when you overdo things. I mean this is a little unfair to be talking about all this when we’re talking about Mo. I’m not trying to say this is the avenue Mo is taking, or anything, but there is a little taint there. It is guilt by association, I suppose, which is very unfair.”

Farah, who has always strenuously denied breaking any rules, is now coached by Gary Lough since quitting the track last year. Salazar has also consistently denied any wrongdoing after the BBC and ProPublica alleged he had broken anti-doping rules in 2015.

The 62-year-old Jones is delighted his marathon record is finally being challenged and is confident he will be bidding it a fond goodbye on Sunday. “I never thought the record would last so long. It is surprising. Although when I did it I kind of blew up in the last five or six miles so it could have been a little quicker had I not been so aggressive early on.

“When I look at my 2:07 I’m really looking at 2:05 but it’s good to see it being challenged now. I should just wave the white flag now and hand it over. I was confident in 2014 it would go, although when Mo went from talking about winning the race to breaking my record it made me think he wasn’t quite so confident. This time it’s a foregone conclusion – even a bad run this time should break the British record.”

The forecast of 23C for Sunday is likely to scupper the plans of the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele to challenge Dennis Kimetto’s world marathon record of 2:02:57 set in 2014.

Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 in Monza last May, but it did not count as a new best under IAAF rules because he was helped by a phalanx of pacemakers who subbed in and out of the race. However he believes he is capable of taking on Kimetto’s time at some point. “Personally I know that one day I will break a world record,” he said. “It might be too hot on Sunday but everyone is running in the same weather. I promise we will see a beautiful race.”

Kipchoge’s coach, Patrick Sang, said his man was in very similar shape to his epic run in Monza when he came so close to being the first man to run under two hours – albeit with extra help. “But the heat, of course, will have an effect,” Sang said. “To what degree, I don’t know, but it will have an impact.”

When asked whether there was still a hope of a world record on Sunday, Sang nodded before replying: “If the temperature comes down a little bit there is a big chance.”

Unfortunately for Kipchoge and Bekele the increasingly certain weather forecasts suggest that chance is dwindling by the hour.
source: theguardian.com