Staunton, January 17 – If anyone doubts that doping remains a serious problem in Russian sports, a report today from the Siberian Federal District should put that to rest. When 36 competitors at an athletic meet there found out that they were going to be subjected to drug tests by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) before competing, they withdrew.
Some had begun to take part in the competition, the Lenta news agency says, but left as soon as they heard about the required tests. Others were waiting for their races to be called but withdrew as well once the word got out about the RUSADA officers’ arrival (lenta.ru/news/2018/01/17/legkootldope/).
Moscow and its supporters can be counted on to put the best possible spin on this. After all, they will say, it was a Russian government agency that was responsible for conducting such tests. But the reality is that this news can hardly be welcome in Moscow because it shows just how deeply rooted the doping culture is in Russian sports.