MONTREAL, Canada, Nov 10 – The World Anti-Doping Agency has obtained data from an internal Russian database detailing drug tests spanning several years, potentially shedding new light on the country’s doping scandal, the global drugs watchdog said Friday.
WADA said in a statement that the files from the Moscow drug-testing laboratory covered the period of 2012-2015, when Russia is alleged to have operated a vast state-backed doping program.
The agency said WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations department was poring over the “enormous” trove of data and would report to the body’s foundation board at its next meeting on November 15-16.
“This new intelligence serves to reinforce our requirement of Russian authorities that they too publicly accept the outcomes; so that, we can all move forward in rebuilding public trust and confidence in Russian sport,” WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement.
WADA’s possession of the Russian database was first reported by the New York Times earlier Friday.
The Times report, citing two people with knowledge of the case, said the files had been leaked to WADA by a whistle-blower after Russian authorities refused to hand over the information to investigators.
The files contained information on thousands of drug tests of Russian athletes carried out by Moscow authorities, the report said.
News of the new database comes as the International Olympic Committee mulls how to sanction Russia ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Times speculated that the new evidence in the files obtained by WADA could compel Olympic chiefs to issue stiffer penalties.
Russia has been at the centre of a drugs storm ever since a 2016 report commissioned by WADA alleged a vast state-sponsored doping program between 2011 and 2015.
The investigation by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Russian secret agents engineered an elaborate system of doping to help the host nation’s athletes win gold medals.
Russia has repeatedly denied any state-sponsored system of doping.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of inventing doping allegatiosn against Russian athletes to influence next year’s presidential election.
“In response to our alleged interference in their election, they want to create problems for the election of the president of Russia,” Putin said.
“Russia never had and, I hope, will never have a system of state doping of which we are being accused,” Putin said Thursday.