German Olympic chief says WADA made ′mistakes′ | News | DW | 31.07.2016
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German Olympic chief says WADA made 'mistakes'

The World Anti-Doping Agency had the information on Russian doping for years but "failed to act" sooner, according to Germany's Olympic chief. He has backed the controversial IOC decision not to suspend Russia from Rio.

The decision against banning all Russian athletes is "understandable," Alfons Hörmann told the German news agency dpa in an interview published on Sunday.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) "has the difficult and important task of handling this undoubtedly very complicated situation in an extremely short amount of time," he told the agency.

Following many reports of state-sponsored doping in Russia, the IOC was pressured to declare a blanket ban on the competitors from the country ahead of the Summer Olympics in Rio. The global body, however, decided to let individual sport federations rule on barring the athletes.

The move goes against the recommendations of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Several media outlets have speculated that the IOC decision might be due to links between Russian President Vladimir Putin and IOC head Thomas Bach, who previously served as head of the German Olympic Association.

WADA plays 'prosecutor'

In his dpa interview, the current German Olympic chief Hörmann accused WADA of blunders in investigating doping in Russia.

"Urgent lessons must be learned from these events, in Russia first of all, but also in all of global sport," he said. "This especially applies to WADA, which now takes on the role of prosecutor, even though they themselves made massive mistakes."

According to Hörmann, the anti-doping experts had "appropriate evidence about the hair-raising practices in Russia for years and failed to act before last December."

He also claims WADA warned the Russians of an unscheduled check during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, which allowed them to switch the urine samples.

"The whole affair could have been dealt with so much sooner with the necessary calm and precision," Hörmann said.

No more 'business as usual'

On Saturday, the IOC declared that a three-person panel would make the final decision on the Russian Olympic competitors. The IOC officials would look into athletes who had been cleared by their federations, but not reopen the cases of those who had been barred. The process needs to be completed before the Rio Games open on Saturday.

"I hope that by the start of the Games in Rio the widespread beauty of sport will again be the center of attention." Hörmann said.

"But the world of sport must sort itself out after Rio. Things must be re-thought and dealt with differently. Business as usual cannot and should not continue."

On the other hand, Russian whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov blasted the IOC for not banning Russia and said that efforts to clean up sport had failed.

The Rio Olympics "will not be clean," he told "O Estado de Sao Paulo" newspaper.

"It has always been the case in the Olympics. There has never been a clean Olympics and there is no reason to believe that Rio will be clean," he said.

dj/rc (dpa, AFP)

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