© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

One can only imagine the machinations and scrambling that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) went through to make the storied Moscow Laboratory “ready” for a visit from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) crack team of inspectors.

Russia’s Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov announced on Boxing Day that they were now ready for WADA – what on earth does that mean?

Prior to Christmas, WADA’s five-member team arrived for their planned inspection but were turned back. No access was permitted.

Access to the lab before year-2018 was to run out was a compulsory condition set with WADA’s Executive Committee back in September. RUSADA denying the first visit smells of two things: getting the lab “ready” for a visit to extrapolate data means that the data may have already been removed or manipulated. Two, a stalling tactic tests the seriousness of WADA’s so-called compulsory requirements guideline.

The data is contained in the laboratory’s Information Management System (LIMS).

Russia used the thinly-veiled stalling tactic of saying that WADA’s equipment was not certified in Russia.

The Moscow Lab is central to the Russian systematic doping crisis, that first got their athletics teams banned from international competition, then all of their sports banned from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Their suspension began in Nov. 2015 following allegations of systematic doping in Russian athletics.

Since, Russia’s culture of cheating has been proven to be pervasive through their entire sporting community.

Russian has yet to demonstrate remorse or a sense of responsibility. The ban should continue until they have a cultural shift – this may take decades; so be it. In other countries that have doping, the cheating happens from the free will to make that decision and to face the consequences, which are slowly, but surely becoming more serious. In Russia, it is alleged that the doping awareness went right to the top with Vladimir Putin.

Stuff roles downhill and Russia continues to wallow in the valley of corruption.