The head of the International Olympic Committee has addressed allegations that critical lab data was manipulated before it was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Russia remains suspended by the IAAF for doping.
Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said Friday that a "fresh look" at Russian participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games might be needed after inconsistencies were found in Russian doping data.
On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it had opened compliance proceedings against Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), after the global anti-doping watchdog examined a bank of historical testing data and found evidence that samples could have been manipulated.
If the investigation determines the samples were tampered with, the IOC could face increased pressure to exclude Russian athletes from the 2020 Olympic Games.
Speaking at International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) track and field competition in Doha, Bach said that although RUSADA had served out its previous sanction, the potential "new situation" would need to be looked at.
The doping data in question had been handed over to WADA in January following the end of a suspension that was lifted in September 2018. Bach added that he would not speculate on the results of the WADA investigation until it has been completed.
"There is a plan, due process ... and they will come up with the decision within WADA," he said. "The IOC fully respects these new rules and these procedures."
Russia's doping problem
Russia has three weeks to explain the alleged manipulation of data from the Moscow lab, which was being used to investigate doped athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and other events.
Even if WADA concludes that the doping data had been manipulated, an IOC suspension is not automatic. In the past, Russian athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics in contradiction of WADA's recommendations.
In 2015, RUSADA was suspended after WADA found evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics. WADA recommended a blanket ban, but the IOC allowed partial Russian participation in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
In 2018, when RUSADA was still under suspension, the IOC banned Russia's Olympic Committee from the 2018 Winter Games, but nevertheless let Russians compete under the designation "Olympic Athlete from Russia" rather than under the Russian flag.
At the competition in Doha, Russian athletes must compete as neutrals, and not wear the country's uniform as Russia remains suspended by the IAAF.
wmr/sms (Reuters, AP, dpa)