World anti-doping body refuses to lift Russia suspension
SEOUL – Agence France-Presse
The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide whether Russia can compete in Pyeongchang at an executive board meeting next month in Lausanne.
Russia was declared "non-compliant" by WADA in 2015 after the McLaren report alleged institutionalized doping culminating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi -- where the hosts topped the medals table.
Russia's secret service and sports ministry were accused of orchestrating an elaborate plot that included using a "mousehole" to switch dirty samples at the doping laboratory in the Black Sea resort.
Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov admitted that Russia's anti-doping system had failed, but he said officials at RUSADA and their Moscow laboratory were to blame.
"We accept the fact our national anti-doping system has failed... [but] we absolutely deny a state-sponsored doping system," Zhukov told the WADA meeting, echoing previous denials.
He added that an unconditional recognition of the McLaren report "is impossible."
Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov pointed to improvements within RUSADA, and insisted it was independent of state control as he pleaded for the agency to be reinstated.
"RUSADA performs all functions within the World Anti-Doping Code," he said. "I guarantee RUSADA will be fully independent, it is a totally new organization.
"We are ready to go forward and work openly in the full standards of WADA. Please let us be compliant."
Progress has been made, and WADA has already partially lifted its ban on RUSADA, giving it the right to collect samples. It also audited the body in September.
Last week, WADA also said it had obtained an "enormous" internal database of Russian drug test results from 2012-2015.