By Steve Keating
(Reuters) – Russian authorities have responded to questions about “inconsistencies” found in data retrieved from a Moscow laboratory, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Monday, as the threat of missing the 2020 Olympics continues to hang over the country.
Russia once again found itself in the doping hot seat when WADA revealed in September that historical data supplied by the country’s anti-doping authority contained “inconsistencies” that resulted in a decision to open a formal compliance procedure against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
In a statement WADA said the responses were being assessed by its Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) department and independent forensic experts, who would report to the Compliance Review Committee (CRC).
The CRC will then decide whether to bring a formal recommendation of non-compliance which could result in Russia being excluded from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
RUSADA had been ruled non-compliant by WADA following the 2016 report that exposed the country’s huge state-sponsored doping program.
In September last year, the WADA executive committee voted to reinstate RUSADA before it had fulfilled the requirements laid out in a “Roadmap to Compliance”, which included giving access to the data stored at Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.
The Russian agency missed the December deadline but an inspection team was finally allowed to retrieve the data in January, recovering more than 2,200 samples.
Examination of the data, which includes thousands of anti-doping tests undergone by Russian sportsmen and women, has raised questions about the possible manipulation of laboratory results.
WADA said it had no deadline for a report although it anticipated that the CRC would be in a position to consider the I&I’s report before the end of November.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)