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Russia Appoints World Anti-Doping Agency Critic To Lead Reform Efforts

Russian champion pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva
Russian champion pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva

The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed concern on March 10 after one of its leading critics, Russian star pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, was reappointed to chair the Russian Anti-Doping Agency board.

Isinbayeva was first appointed as chair in December and given a new term on March 9. Her main task will be to persuade WADA to lift its 2015 suspension of the Russian board over allegations its staff covered up doping.

But Isinbayeva's relations with WADA are frayed after she repeatedly criticized the organization, framed doping allegations as an anti-Russian plot, and called for a leading whistleblower to be banned for life.

WADA said Isinbayeva's reappointment "is not consistent with the roadmap" it established for the reinstatement of the Russian anti-doping board and it inform its compliance review committee of the development.

Isinbayeva missed the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year because of a ban on the Russian athletics team over widespread doping. Since she was never personally implicated in the doping, she called it a "human rights violation."

Upon reappointment, she said that she will continue to "defend our athletes" even as she pledged to follow WADA's anti-doping reform program.

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, and Reuters

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