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WADA calls on Russia to stop hacks

September 15, 2016

WADA has called on Russia to stop a series of computer hacks that have resulted in the medical records of star athletes being made public. The documents relate to banned substances used under medical exemptions.

Symbolbild Internet Password Hacking
Image: Fotolia/Yong Hian Lim

The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) director general, Olivier Niggli, used a statement posted on the organization's website late on Wednesday to call on Russia "to do everything in their power to make it [the hacking of its database] stop."

"WADA is very mindful that this criminal attack, which to date has recklessly exposed personal data of 29 athletes, will be very distressing for the athletes that have been targeted," Niggli said.

This came a day after WADA said it had confirmed that a Russian cyber-espionage group known as "Fancy Bear" had gained access to the database of its anti-doping administration and management system.

The documents that the group has posted online includes confidential information such as Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), which is issued by international sports federations and national anti-doping organizations and allows athletes to take normally banned drugs for treatment of a medical condition.

Among those whose medical records have been exposed are Germany's 2012 Olympic discus champion, Robert Harting and the 2013 world champion in the javelin, Christina Obergföll.

Harting laid back, Obergföll not amused

"Because of my lumbago, I was treated by the medical Olympic team in Rio manually and with the medicine dexamethasone and triamcinolone," Harting told the German magazine "SportBild."

"All applications were filed on time and in accordance with regulations and complied with all the formalities. I am a transparent athlete and have no problem with this publication," he added.

Obergföll, though, told the DPA news agency that she was disappointed by the publication of her medical information.

"Of course I don't find it great because these are personal documents that are nobody's business," she said.

British Tour de France champions Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins are among the other athletes who have had their data exposed.

Russian denial

Meanwhile, Russia has denied any involvement in the hacks.

"How can you prove that the hackers are Russian?" Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on the sidelines of the extraordinary UEFA Congress in Athens on Wednesday. "You blame Russia for everything. It is very 'in' now."

After a WADA-commissioned report released late last year revealed evidence of state-sponsored, systematic doping in Russia, the International Association of Athletics Federations barred Russian athletes from competition. The International Olympic Committee declined to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes from competing in the Rio Games, but this is exactly what the International Paralympics Committee did.

pfd/apc (AP, AFP, dpa)