RIO DE JANEIRO—The split between Olympic leaders and global anti-doping officials over the Russian doping scandal continues to deepen.
The World Anti-Doping Agency fired back Monday, one day after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach suggested the agency was to blame for the last-minute chaos over the participation of Russian athletes in the Rio Games.
Bach said the agency should have acted sooner on evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia rather than release the damning report by Canadian investigator Richard McLaren so close to South America’s first Olympics, which open Friday.
“While it is destabilizing in the lead-up to the Games, it is obvious, given the seriousness of the revelations that he (McLaren) uncovered, that they had to be published and acted upon without delay,” WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement issued Monday.
Reedie, also an IOC vice president, told The Associated Press that he wanted to set the record straight after Bach’s comments by explaining the agency’s handling of the allegations against the Russians.
“He seemed to use WADA as a diversion in some way,” Reedie said. “We thought
in all honesty we needed to just explain
the position and what we tried to do.”
Bach and WADA have been at odds since the agency publicly recommended that the IOC impose a total ban on Russia’s Rio Olympic team after McLaren’s report detailing state-directed doping in more than two dozen winter and summer sports.
“It’s unfortunately just before the Games,” Reedie told The Associated Press. “It was caused by very, very serious evidence of wrongdoing. There was little time to resolve it, and so it was likely to destabilize the situation.”
Asked about the divisions within the International Olympic Committee, he said: “Most of us will get over this. It’s all perfectly civilized.”
Sunday, Bach defended the IOC’s decision not to ban the entire Rio-bound Russian delegation, and said the IOC wasn’t responsible for the timing of the latest WADA report, which was announced July 18.
July 24, the IOC placed the burden on international sports federations to determine whether Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in Rio. More than 100 Russian athletes — including the track and field team — have been excluded, with more than 250 declared eligible by the federations so far.
WADA was created by the IOC in 1999 to lead the global anti-doping fight. WADA receives half its funding from the IOC.
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