Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Doping Scandal Will Get Worse before It Gets Better So Race Is on for Coe to Save Athletics; Investigation Could Expose Other Countries as Newly-Elected IAAF President Faces Up to Worst Drug Scandal in the History of Sport

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Doping Scandal Will Get Worse before It Gets Better So Race Is on for Coe to Save Athletics; Investigation Could Expose Other Countries as Newly-Elected IAAF President Faces Up to Worst Drug Scandal in the History of Sport

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie in Geneva

THERE was a sense of irony that the sun shone on the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the banks of the Rhone yesterday for what was billed as athletics' "darkest day".

But hopefully the explosive nature of the revelations laid bare by former WADA boss Dick Pound and his coauthors can pave the way for the dawning of a new era, of brighter times for the sport.

The problem is that -- at least from the outside looking in -- things will get infinitely worse before they get better. Pound's independent commission has only completed one half of its task, exposing the level of corruption within Russian athletics.

Part two, which was added to the commission's remit at a later stage, is yet to come -- date unknown but before the end of the year -- with regard to the leaked database of blood samples from the IAAF that highlighted that great swathes of medals and titles won by athletes at past Olympics and World Championships had been achieved by those with suspicious readings in their blood passport.

Quite what revelations are unveiled by Pound, Richard McLaren and Gunter Younger in their investigation -- triggered as in the Russian scandal by the excellent work of the German journalist Hajo Seppelt -- remains unclear. But on the evidence of their first 323 pages and the surprise nature and extent of the revelations, athletics needs to brace itself for more scandal to be revealed in public.

The inference from Pound is that other countries are to be dragged into the mess, with Kenya and Turkey in particular having a high number of athletes banned from competing.

Turkey was named as a possible area of interest by Interpol in their own investigation yesterday, which had begun with former IAAF President Lamine Diack and has now spread as far afield as Singapore.

As Pound was at pains to point out, this is not just a Russian problem, such words perhaps giving any athletics fan a sense of foreboding for what lies ahead in the final weeks of 2015.

So what happens now? The commission recommended that Russia are banned from competing in athletics until they are compliant with the WADA anti-doping code, which it is abundantly clear on the basis of yesterday's evidence they are not.

That issue will be discussed two-fold, first by the IAAF Council members this weekend in Monaco and latterly by WADA chiefs when they meet in Colorado Springs. Both bodies need to be ruthless in their damnation of Russia and in their sanctions immediately.

Understandably bearing in mind the extent of the problem in Russia, IAAF and WADA have not come out of this covered in glory.

WADA dearly miss a pit bull of a president as they had in Pound previously and subsequently in John Fahey.

New WADA chief Sir Craig Reedie has clearly proven himself to be an adept sporting administrator over the years but he needs to be more combative in the way in which he addresses the doping crisis in Russia and perhaps more broadly globally. …

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