Australia blasts WADA for failing athletes in Russia decision

Sydney (AFP) –


Australia blasted the decision to lift a ban on Russia's anti-doping agency Friday, saying it could damage athletes' confidence in the fight against drugs.

The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) move on Thursday paves the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports.

But it was met with condemnation by the United States and others, who have accused WADA of caving in to pressure from the International Olympic Committee.

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive David Sharpe said administrators must remember that sport was about athletes and the fans.

"Today athletes have every right to feel the system has failed them," he said.

ASADA was a signatory to a statement issued prior to the meeting on Thursday which called for voting on the Russian agency RUSADA's return to be postponed until it had fully met all of the conditions in a roadmap created by WADA.

Sharpe said the decision strengthened his commitment to the pursuit of clean, fair sport.

"More than ever athletes need to be reassured that the focus of anti-doping agencies such as ASADA remain, ensuring there is a level playing field," he said.

"ASADA is committed to working internationally with its national anti-doping partners to close the gap and strengthen their programs."

WADA president Craig Reedie said reinstating RUSADA was subject to strict conditions, including "a clear timeline by which WADA must be given access to the former Moscow laboratory data and samples".

He said that if that was not met, the ban on the Russian anti-doping agency would be reinforced.