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Russian Anti-Doping Chief Says May Miss Deadline, Risking Suspension Again

RUSADA Director-General Yury Ganus
RUSADA Director-General Yury Ganus

The Russian government risks missing a deadline next month to allow access to the Moscow laboratory at the center of the country's doping scandals, the head of the country's anti-doping agency has said.

"I am feeling worried about how the situation is developing regarding access to the Moscow lab," RUSADA chief Yury Ganus told the Russian state-run TASS news agency on November 9.

The agency made a deal with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Russian government to be reinstated in September in return for providing WADA with data from the Moscow lab by the end of 2018.

Ganus told TASS that talks on how access should be granted have so far failed to agree on who exactly should be allowed into the lab, and progress is needed "rapidly," as the WADA board meets next week.

If Russia fails to uphold its promise, Ganus said, "we will lose trust, if not forever, then for many years."

Ganus said he offered his help to Russian law enforcement, which sealed off the lab in 2016, but didn't get an answer.

WADA has said that it will suspend Russia again if it fails to provide data or lab samples requested by WADA under the deadline. Under new rules, that would make it much harder for Russia to host major sports events.

Access to the lab is also a key condition for the reinstatement of Russia's banned track-and-field team, which was suspended from international competition in 2015 for widespread doping. Since then, top Russians have competed as neutral athletes.

WADA's decision to reinstate RUSADA in September caused an angry backlash from dozens of anti-doping authorities and athletes outside Russia, who are now calling for new leadership and major reforms at the doping authority.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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