Drug testers being prevented from taking samples in Russia

Russia's hopes of having the global ban on its athletics team lifted in time for the Rio Olympics have been severely dented by a devastating World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report.

Published on WADA's website, the "update on the status of Russia testing" lists a catalogue of delaying tactics, failures and wilful obstruction which have made it almost impossible to adequately test Olympic hopefuls in the world's largest country.

The report was largely compiled by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) as the British agency has been overseeing drug testing in Russia since February.

Drug testers being prevented from taking samples in Russia

That followed an independent investigation, funded by WADA, that resulted in Russia's athletics federation, anti-doping agency and main anti-doping lab all being suspended last November.

Russia, second in the all-time Olympic medal table, has gone to great lengths this year to prove its commitment to clean sport and had hoped the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) would lift its ban in Vienna on Friday.

But that seems less likely now, particularly as this report has already been passed to the IAAF Task Force that is in Russia to assess its compliance with WADA rules - its recommendation is crucial to Friday's decision.

The report says 2,947 tests have been carried out on Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Russia since February, less than half the number achieved by Russia's suspended anti-doping agency for the same period last year.

Drug testers being prevented from taking samples in Russia

But the details of the report suggest the vast majority of those 2015 tests were useless as Russian athletes have become accustomed to only giving samples when they want to.

Of those nearly 3,000 tests, 455 have been done under UKAD's guidance but a remarkable 736 tests have been "cancelled or declined" because of "sample collection authority lack of capacity".

What this means becomes apparent as the report explains how athletes from a variety of sports fail to provide addresses or contact details, claim to be training in restricted military cities (whether they are or not) or put misleading information on their "whereabouts" forms.

Correct "whereabouts" information is what makes no-notice, out-of-competition testing possible, and it is widely considered to be the most effective deterrent against drugs cheats.

But in-competition testing in Russia is not much easier as the addresses and schedules of events are often vague and line-ups are revealed late.

Other problems listed include obstruction from security staff at training camps and armed police in restricted areas, and tampering with samples by customs officials.

There have been incidences of athletes running away from testers, one case of attempted bribery and another of a female athlete trying to use clean urine stored in a hidden device - that ruse was rumbled and she returned a positive sample.

There is even an allegation of an informal lab, with analysis machines, being used by competitors at a wrestling event.

The Russian authorities are yet to respond to this report but earlier on Wednesday, prior to its publication, British Olympic Association chief executive Bill Sweeney said he believed the IAAF would make the "right decision, whatever that decision is".

"We can't really speculate (but) we are committed to making sure everyone who competes is competing fairly, that there is no unfair advantage, and it is a clean Games," said Sweeney.

"The key thing is making sure that everything is being done to protect the clean athletes.

"We want to make sure that whoever competes in a future Games goes there clean and that the right sanctions and penalties are in place to deter people from cheating.

"If there are Russians competing at the Games, we would be pretty confident they'd have been heavily tested, and so we (would) believe they are competing in the right circumstances."

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