Tampering doubts over Russian doping samples

PARIS — The World Anti-Doping Agency doubts the authenticity of files and samples retrieved from Moscow's disgraced former drug-testing laboratory, a source close to the matter has told AFP.

The Compliance Review Committee (CRC) is preparing to recommend sanctions and is readying a report to present to WADA at a meeting in Tokyo on Monday, the source said Saturday.

This source confirms a tweet from journalist Hajo Seppelt from German TV station ARD saying Russia is "suspected of having tampered with the samples from the Moscow lab".

Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for WADA confirmed the results of the CRC report would be made public after the meeting on Monday but said it was too early to discus them.

Providing full WADA access to the Moscow lab's test files was a key condition of Russia's controversial reinstatement last September following a major state-sponsored doping scandal.

If a fraud was revealed, this could possibly lead to sanctions like banning Russia from future competitions such as the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Russia has been suspended from all international athletics competitions since 2015, although many of its athletes are given special dispensation to compete under a neutral banner.

But the International Association of Athletics Federations is due to reexamine the case for reintegrating Russian athletes ahead of the World Athletics Championships that start in Doha September 27.

WADA said in July they had started assessing the evidence provided "with a view to identifying those cases to take forward as anti-doping rule violations". It added that, even if federations did not bring forward a case, WADA could.

WADA also said it aimed to analyze all the priority cases by the end of the year.

In July, it said that it was "compiling strong evidence" of doping with 298 athletes in the immediate line of fire from files and samples retrieved from Moscow's disgraced former drug-testing laboratory.

Those athletes represent 578 of the 2,262 total samples retrieved in Moscow. — AFP