KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The World Anti-Doping Agency has added a new twist to the ‘will-they/won’t-they?’ uncertainty over Russian participation at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in the new year.

Officials and members of the International Olympic Committee have demonstrated a will to allow Russian competitors to take part under the national flag in the face of criticism from anti-doping agencies. A decision is due by the IOC executive board next month.

WADA has insisted that the Russian authorities should accept the accusation of institutionalised manipulation of their doping system contained in the report submitted to the IOC ahead of the Rio 2016 summer Games.

The Russians have consistently refused to do so, saying that guilty individuals should be punished where appropriate evidence is available but that the entire team should be penalised for individual wrongdoing.

This flies in the face of the McLaren Report that the entire Russian sports system was ‘infected.’

Now WADA has said that it has “acquired new intelligence concerning the former WADA-accredited Moscow Laboratory.”

Testing records

This takes the form of a database detailing all the lab’s testing records between January 2012  and August 2015. This has the potential to throw new light on what, exactly, was being undertaken in Russia, by whom, under whose orders.

A WADA statement said: “On 18 July 2016, WADA’s independent McLaren Investigation confirmed allegations of institutionalized manipulation of the doping control process before, during and after the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were made by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Moscow Laboratory.

“In his Report, Professor Richard McLaren outlined how, in complete violation of WADA’s International Standard for Laboratories (ISL), the Moscow Laboratory would report all analytical positives to the Ministry of Sport; the Ministry would return with a ‘save’ or ‘quarantine’ order; if ‘save’, the Laboratory would report the sample negative in WADA’s Anti-Doping Management System (ADAMS); and, the athlete would benefit from the cover up. By cross-referencing this new intelligence with the McLaren Investigations’ findings and what was reported into ADAMS, WADA’s evidence base is reinforced.”

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie, who has been fighting a rearguard action against many Russian supporters within the IOC board, said: “WADA continues to stand firmly behind the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation. This new intelligence serves to reinforce our requirement of Russian authorities that they too publicly accept the outcomes; so that, we can all move forward in rebuilding public trust and confidence in Russian sport.”

He expects to be able to clarify more about the new information at board meetings next week.