Los Angeles: United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart on Tuesday called for a blanket ban on Russian athletes at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
In a strongly worded statement, Tygart said proposed World Anti-Doping Agency sanctions, which included allowing Russian athletes to compete under an Olympic banner were “inadequate.”
“WADA must get tougher and impose the full restriction on Russian athlete participation in the Olympics that the rules allow,” Tygart said.
“Only such a resolute response has a chance of getting Russia’s attention, changing behaviour, and protecting today’s clean athletes, who will compete in Tokyo, as well as future generations of athletes in Russia, who deserve better than a cynical, weak response to the world’s repeated calls for Russia to clean up its act.”
Tygart’s comments came a day after WADA’s Compliance Review Committee recommended a four-year sporting ban on Russia.
The WADA committee’s recommendation came after Russian authorities were accused of falsifying laboratory data related to the country’s doping scandal, which was handed over to investigators in January.
Under the proposed WADA sanctions, individual Russian athletes could still compete in Olympic events if they are able to prove they are not implicated in the broader doping scandal that was unveiled after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Russian athletes who could prove they were above suspicion were able to compete under the designation of “Olympic Athlete from Russia”, marching under the Olympic flag.
Full disclosure of data from Moscow’s testing laboratory was a central condition of the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being lifted in 2018. WADA’s executive committee is expected to approve the proposed sanctions at a meeting in Paris on December 9.
Tygart, however, said the punishments did not go far enough.