WADA pushes Russia on anti-doping

Updated: July 30, 2010, 1:52 PM ET
Associated Press

MOSCOW -- The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency says Russia must step up efforts against the use of banned drugs by athletes.

WADA president John Fahey said at an international sports forum Friday that while Russia has made progress against doping, more must be done, especially with the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"It has a duty ... as the world is watching Russia prepare for that major event," he said.

Several Russian biathletes and cross-country skiers were banned for doping in the months before the Vancouver Games, and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has said the country should get tougher on cheaters.

"Russia needs to expand its domestic doping control program in order to ensure its athletes are tested out of competition and in a smart and targeted way," Fahey said. "Testing needs to be conducted all around the country in an effective way."

He also appeared to suggest that Russians have been allowed to tolerate drug use by athletes.

"Educational efforts need to be intensified in order to create a strong, stable, educated culture in which doping is forbidden altogether," Fahey said.

The comments were an unusual note of criticism in the forum, called "Russia -- A Sports Power." The forum focused on Russia's efforts to improve its standing in international sports, which declined in the early years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of state funding for sports.

The gathering commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Moscow Olympics, with the mascot Misha the bear featured prominently.

The forum, at the sprawling Luzhniki sports complex in central Moscow, inadvertently underlined a weakness in much of Russia's sports infrastructure -- a lack of adequate air conditioning. Moscow is suffering through its hottest summer on record and forum participants fanned and mopped their faces with handkerchiefs as they sat in stifling and humid halls.

Russia President Dmitry Medvedev noted the conditions with chagrin when he met with international sports federation heads at the forum.

"Life unfortunately has brought us some surprise," he said. "There's never been this kind of temperatures, absolutely the maximum, and I periodically feel like I'm in Italy or in Egypt but certainly not like I'm in Moscow.

"I hope you are not exhausted from being in our hot climate ... and not very dissuaded from believing we can carry out the Winter Olympics. I suggest that we'll simply have to make adjustments for the climate and spend additional money, including for the Winter Olympics."

He did not specify what sort of spending might be necessary.

The ice sports venues for the 2014 Games will be in a seaside part of Sochi that has a humid, subtropical climate.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press