not fit for purpose and should be replaced: Thompson
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[October 20, 2018]
By Christian Radnedge
PARIS (Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping
Agency is not fit for purpose and should be replaced, Britain's
double Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson has said following
its decision last month to lift a ban on Russia's anti-doping body.
RUSADA's 22-month suspension was removed by WADA subject to various
conditions but drew widespread criticism from some athletes and
The decision opens the door for Russia's eventual return to
international sport, following February's reinstatement of the
Russian Olympic Committee after the country was banned from this
year's Winter Games in South Korea.
Thompson, the former world and European champion who won gold at the
1980 and 1984 Olympics, told Reuters WADA should be replaced because
athletes' were not being listened to.
"I just think WADA should be kicked into touch and we should have
some people that are representing the athlete and the spirit of
sport," he said at the Laureus Sport for Good Summit.
"A new body should be set up because the one there isn't fit for
Athletics was at the forefront of the doping scandal that erupted in
2015 with Richard McLaren's independent report alleging a
state-sponsored doping program existed in Russia.
Critics say Russia has failed to meet steps laid out in a roadmap
for RUSADA's reinstatement, which included the country acknowledging
the findings of the WADA-commissioned McLaren report and allowing
access to urine samples at its Moscow lab.
However, a WADA spokesperson defended its stance on RUSADA, saying
in an email to Reuters: "WADA's Executive Committee... believes that
the decision to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the World
Anti-Doping Code is the right one for clean sport and puts WADA in a
much stronger position than we were before.
"What the decision means is that either we will have access to all
the data from the Moscow laboratory by the end of the year, allowing
us to catch more cheats and exonerate clean athletes, or RUSADA will
be made non-compliant again."
Athletics' governing body has been one of the few to maintain a hard
line, with the IAAF imposing its own conditions which the Russian
Athletics Federation (RusAF) still has to meet before its athletes
can compete internationally again.
[to top of second column]
A woman walks into the head office of the World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne
"A lot of the other sports I think have done a disservice to their
athletes," said 60-year-old Thompson.
"Russia hasn't complied to some of the instructions that they were
given in order to get back into international sport and I think that
they've all capitulated... for whatever reason.
"I think that athletics has been the one true defender and I'm proud
to be part of that family."
The International Association of Athletics Federations set up the
Athletics Integrity Unit in April 2017 as an independent body tasked
with combating doping in sport.
However, Thompson questioned the IAAF decision to stage the Sept.
27-Oct 6 world championships in Doha next year -- the first time the
event will have been held in the Gulf region.
"It's going to be tough... I don't know how they're going to fill
stadiums. Even football doesn't fill stadiums there. It was a tough
call and hopefully they've got it right but looking at it today it's
going to be a tough sell."
The Briton favors regularly bringing the worlds back to his home
city, London, which staged last year's event.
UK Sport recently announced they were looking at bidding to hold the
global event again within the next 10 years after breaking
attendance records in 2017 at the London Stadium, which was also the
packed centerpiece of the 2012 Olympics.
"And why wouldn't they? I don't know why the IAAF doesn't take their
world championships -- every third one or every fourth one -- back
to Britain because we filled the place," Thompson said.
"We might be the only place in the whole world that fills it
morning, afternoon, evening sessions -- we love it."
(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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