Russia may have manipulated data from the Moscow Doping Control Laboratory at the beginning of 2019. This is what the head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) Jurij Ganus said in an interview with SPIEGEL. "Someone has tried to hush up information on a large scale," says Ganus. The Rusada leader is stunned by the incident: "It's like sitting in a car and steering it directly against the wall."
- Read the full interview here: "We're talking about a plot against us and the sport as a whole"
Another person with knowledge of the operation confirmed to the SPIEGEL that the Wada is currently pursuing this suspicion. The Russian Ministry of Sport did not want to comment on request.
In September, it became known that the World Anti-Doping Agency was questioning the authenticity of data extracted from the Moscow laboratory in January. The data are from the years 2012 to 2015 and are to help Wada to subsequently transfer athletes who benefited from Russian system doping.
"The worst crisis ever"
According to Rusada leader Ganus, the data should have been illegally manipulated until shortly before being handed over to the Wada. "It's not just about what was, the 2015 dataset, but how the material was changed after that," says Ganus. "We're talking about months, the most recent changes are from December 2018 and January 2019. "
The extent of the manipulation is enormous. Ganus: "The changes in the data are so big and significant, that's not a coincidence." He speaks of "thousands" changes to the record.
The Wada sent after discovery of the abnormalities a questionnaire to the Russian Ministry of Sport, this replied on Tuesday evening shortly before the deadline for the Wada. Ganus does not believe that the replica from Russia can resolve the incident: "Honestly, I can not imagine how to respond to these allegations," says the Rusada boss. He believes: "We are experiencing the worst crisis ever."
This threatens the Russian sport once again the exclusion from the world stage. Only in September 2018, the Wada had the Russian Agency re-admitted after a three-year suspension under conditions. One of the conditions: Wada investigators should have access to the Moscow Doping Control Laboratory by the end of 2018 to confiscate suspicious samples and records.
Ganus sees participation in the 2020 Olympic Games and 2022 endangered
But only in January 2019 could the data from Moscow be secured. Shortly before Christmas, a Wada delegation left Russia empty-handed, allegedly because investigators' equipment was not certified under Russian law. If the allegations now become known, the reason could be different: The possibly targeted manipulation of data was not yet completed.
Should the suspicion come true, Russia must expect a harsh sentence. Jurij Ganus sees Russia's participation in the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo and 2022 in Beijing at risk: "The penalties will be very tough, because it is not the first time that Russia violates rules."
On Tuesday, Wada announced that it would not follow a fixed timetable when it came to sanctioning. The Wada Compliance Committee will recommend to the Executive Committee if and how Russia could be punished. If it comes to a renewed suspension, the case should also employ the World Sports Court Cas.