Sports News

Brazil and Russia under anti-doping microscope

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Russia and Brazil are under the World Anti-Doping Agency microscope as the countries prepare to host two of the world’s biggest sporting events, WADA said Wednesday.

With Sochi set to stage the 2014 Winter Olympics and Rio de Janeiro on deck to host the 2016 Summer Games, WADA director general David Howman said both Russia and Brazil must beef up their anti-doping programmes.

Earlier this year, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge had expressed concern over the high number of doping cases involving Russian athletes while Howman on Wednesday decried the Moscow doping laboratories.

“In Russia you know the concerns we have,” Howman told reporters. “Our issue in Russia is that it is a big country, seven hours time difference from Moscow to Vladivostok.

“They have training camps throughout the country that are hard to get to, so can doping control officers get there?

“In addition we are looking at their laboratories. If you visited Moscow and went to the laboratory it’s a bit ramshackled. It’s a rabbit’s warren.”

Despite Howman’s less than sparkling reviews, the Moscow facility remains one of WADA’s 34 approved laboratories.

Also on the Russian Olympic to-do list is the construction of a satellite lab in Sochi and development and implementation of an effective anti-doping programme.

Brazil’s WADA-approved lab has received good marks but the anti-doping agency expressed ample concern that testing remains in the hands of the Brazil Olympic Committee rather than a national agency.

“Brazil is much worse off,” said Howman. “Their national Olympic committee is still responsible for the anti-doping programme. They haven’t yet set up a NAD (national anti-doping agency).

“They promised they would and we were hopeful the law would have been passed before the recent election but it wasn’t, so we now have to start to persuade the incoming government to address the issue again.

“They do have a programme in place but it is run by their national Olympic committee. It satisfies the Code but Brazil is a big sporting country they should have a national anti-doping agency. It is something the government should commit to.

“So there is a lot of work to be done in Brazil.”

Editing by Steve Ginsburg