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Russian Anti-Doping Agency Given Go-Ahead To Start Testing Athletes Again

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency's office in Moscow
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency's office in Moscow

The World Anti-Doping Agency has partly restored drug-testing duties to Russia's anti-doping agency.

RUSADA was suspended in 2015 when its staff was accused of helping to cover up athletes' drug use, but will now have wide-ranging authority over testing.

After intense negotiations and sweeping personnel changes at the Russian agency, WADA said it had now allowed RUSADA to "plan and coordinate" drug testing under the supervision of British agency UKAD, which has overseen testing in Russia since 2015.

"Resumption of testing represents an important step forward in rebuilding anti-doping in Russia," WADA President Craig Reedie said on June 27. "We strongly encourage Russia to continue their efforts in the interest of clean athletes worldwide."

RUSADA will have free rein to choose which athletes to test, even if UKAD disagrees with its choice, and employees will now be allowed to collect samples from athletes.

Samples will have to be sent to laboratories abroad. Russia's only drug-testing laboratory remains suspended after its former director said he switched dirty samples for clean ones to cover up doping.

Also addressing WADA concerns, an accountancy executive, Aleksander Ivlev, took the place of pole-vaulting great Yelena Isinbayeva as RUSADA chair.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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