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Russian anti-doping chief attacks 'destructive' data doctoring

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Katowice (Poland) (AFP)

Russia's anti-doping tzar Yuri Ganus on Wednesday blasted the "irresponsible and destructive actions" of Moscow authorities he accuses of doctoring key data handed over to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Ganus told delegates at WADA's world conference in Katowice that the anti-doping agency RUSADA he heads had become "a hostage to the crisis" triggered by the falsified information.

In September, WADA ordered Russia to explain "inconsistencies" in some of the thousands of files and samples handed over from its Moscow anti-doping laboratory in January.

Among delegates listening to Ganus's speech was Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, who earlier had assured the conference that RUSADA and Russian authorities had met all of WADA's demands.

The data transfer was a key condition for Russia's reinstatement by WADA in 2018 after the country was banned from competing in several international competitions over state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015.

WADA's compliance arm is set to conclude its review of this latest twist in the Russian doping scandal by the end of the month.

Ganus stressed that RUSADA "had nothing to do with the database and its transfer" and that it had been a victim of "forces outside RUSADA". He urged WADA to apply "wisdom" when imposing any sanctions in order to protect the independence of anti-doping agencies.

To applause Ganus concluded a rousing address by telling the conference: "No one should use us (RUSADA) for their personal interests..We will protect our independence."

In an interview with AFP last month Ganus said he expected Russia to be banned from next year's Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, blaming unnamed Russian officials for doctoring the data handed over to WADA.

The best-case scenario, in his view, was very limited participation "by certain athletes, by invitation", as happened at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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