WADA accuses Ukraine of doping violations

Ukraine's National Anti-Doping Centre is at the centre of a WADA probe into it's practices.
Ukraine's National Anti-Doping Centre is at the centre of a WADA probe into it's practices.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) says it has "compelling evidence" that Ukraine deliberately declared doping samples collected in competition as out-of-competition tests to meet requirements for the Tokyo Olympics.

WADA said in a statement it has published a summery on a probe named Operation Hercules against Ukraine's anti-doping agency NADC, which seemingly informed athletes in advance of doping tests which is forbidden as well.

Compliancy proceedings have been initiated against NADC.

"Operation Hercules has raised serious questions about the integrity of NADC's testing practices, and the competence of some staff. Moreover, the apparent longevity and brazenness of these practices suggests significant organisational failings within NADC," WADA chief investigator Guenter Younger said.

WADA said that NADC deliberately wrongly declared at least six drug tests from competitions as random tests before this year's Tokyo Games.

Younger said "the evidence suggests the samples were misreported under instruction and for the purposes of meeting the minimum number of out-of-competition tests required from an athlete prior to attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games."

He said this also affected testing because more substances are prohibited in in-competition tests than out of competition which could lead to doping cases being hidden.

However, retests of the samples were all negative.

Looking at the advance notice of tests, WADA said that evidence shows the practice has been occurring since 2012.

"'Operation Hercules' has convincing and corroborated evidence that NADC was engaged in the practice of telephoning athletes or contacting them through their coaches to request their attendance at the NADC, the following day, for testing," Younger said.

"The evidence suggests that NADC would adopt this practice often before important international events and there were times when an entire discipline of the national team was present at the NADC awaiting testing."

WADA also said it found no evidence of "a doping and protection scheme" within Ukraine's athletics federation FLAU but that there was evidence a FLAU member was engaged in trafficking of the forbidden blood booster EPO, with the case referred to the Athletics Integrity Unit.

No names were given in the WADA statement for privacy reasons.

If the NADC is found to be in violation of the WADA Code and non-compliant then Ukraine could risk being banned from competing at next year's Beijing Winter Olympics.

with Reuters

Australian Associated Press