Widespread Russian doping revealed before the Rio Olympics had shown up deficiencies in WADA, according to IOC president Thomas Bach.
Lausanne : The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has this month been the target of hacking, but also finds itself in the crosshairs of an Olympic family demanding widespread reform in the battle against banned drugs in sport.
The leaking of confidential medical records of 66 athletes including tennis’ Williams sisters and three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome by the Fancy Bears hacking collective, believed to be operating from Russia, is however most likely not the thing that most threatens WADA.
Established in 1999 following the Festina affair — over doping during and after the 1998 Tour de France — as an International Olympic Committee initiative to “promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sport”, Montreal-based WADA seems to have no choice but to instigate internal reform.
“Recent developments have shown that we need a full review of the WADA anti-doping system,” IOC president Thomas Bach said before the Olympics started in Brazil in a surprise broadside. While the investigation into systemic Russian state-sponsored doping was revealed by Canadian Richard McLaren for WADA and led to the exclusion of hundreds of Russian athletes, Bach called for “a more robust and efficient anti-doping system. This requires clear responsibilities, more transparency, more independence and better worldwide harmonisation”.
Bach reinforced his view that reform was crucial in a letter to IOC members on September 16. “The Olympic movement, as 50 percent shareholder of WADA, is ready to contribute to this discussion,” the German said.
“This review can be a turning point for the better in the fight against doping. “We need to work together to come to a joint solution that ensures the integrity of sport, the protection of the clean athletes and is accepted by all the stakeholders of the Olympic movement.”