Russia denies any manipulation of key doping data

Russia hardened its line Thursday on a doping issue which could threaten the country’s participation at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The Russians, who handed over a vast archive of data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory to the World Anti-Doping Agency in January, denied that any of it was manipulated.

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said Russian experts have conducted an analysis which found no “deletions” or “manipulations.” He said they are sharing those findings with WADA.

“The experts consider that there were no deletions at all there. It’s a purely technical issue related to how the system itself works,” Kolobkov said. “All these issues will be discussed and I’m sure all these issues will be explained.”

WADA had its own copy of the database provided by a whistleblower in 2017. International sports officials have previously said there are signs that specific athletes’ test results were changed.

A report for track’s governing body in September said “these discrepancies are not random” and that the copy of the database handed over by Russia is missing positive doping-test findings that were in the earlier copy.

The Russian Olympic Committee said in September that the country faced a threat of missing next year’s Olympics if it couldn’t explain why the data didn’t match. Russia was officially banned from last year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang because of earlier doping cover-ups, but was allowed to send a team of “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

The data was guarded by Russian law enforcement at the Moscow lab before it was handed over on the second attempt in January, missing a December 2018 deadline set by WADA.

Turning over the data was a key requirement for the reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency, and WADA has formally opened a compliance procedure that could lead to a new ban if the data was manipulated.

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