Saturday, January 23, 2016

V 6 N. 4 What the WADA Reports Mean to Me

     World Anti Doping Association (WADA) Reports #1 and #2

By now we've been able to look over in our irreverant, naive and  outsider looking in way and come up with a few thoughts about the WADA Independent Commission Reports #1 and  #2.  I should probably put a disclaimer on anything beyond this point as this is such a big story and probably still mostly untold at this time.  The IAAF meltdown rivals the old Enron and banking scandals in our little world of international track and field, the old  'too big to fail', yet it failed.   And it failed miserably.  It is a story of human frailties in the face of big time athletics and corporate involvement in a world that could throw seemingly endless streams of money around the heads and up the noses of IAAF leadership.   The existence of world bodies of anything political, religious, athletic, medical, judicial, humanitarian, agricultural, and military-industrial  provides us with an historical  litany of corruption, misrepresentation, connivance, deception, theft, and other words of disdain and disgust.  And yet we are willingly deceived into subscribing to these organizations of leadership and governance  and narcotised into a belief that they are able and willing to look after the best interests of our small spheres of interest.

 First, let's take a quick look at the task of the Independent Commission established by WADA.
Dick Pound, Richard McLaren, and Guenther Younger were assigned by   WADA as the IC with Pound as chairman. The IC's mandate was to investigate track and field in light  of  allegations made in December of 2014 by the German television network ARD about doping and cover ups of international track and field athletes in Russia.

Objectives of the IC

To establish breaches of processes or rules (Code of International Standards) by any signatory to the Code including the Russian National Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the IAAF and other National Anti Doping Organizations and Federations.   The TV show specifically implicated the Russians. 

 Also included was any breach by International Standards for Laboratories (ISL)     by  any accredited laboratory including the one in Moscow.   Many countries have their own supposedly respecting the ISL.  Kenya may be one of the ones that does not or if they do, is strongly under suspicion.    Further mandate of the IC were breaches of rules by athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors, or entourages asssociated with athletes.  And to see if there is suffiicient evidence that might lead to sanction processes pursued under the World Anti Doping Code against any individual or organization.

Members of the IC were required to sign a confidentiality agreement upon appointment.  This makes me wonder how they could publish a report after doing their work, but apparently they can.

In the IC report #2 a few Russian athletes and coaches and doctors and labs were investigated and recommended for sanctioning from international competition.    The IAAF was also a subject of the IC's report.

At the top of the chopping block is the former four time elected president of the IAAF  Lamine Diack of Senegal.  How this gentleman was able to rise to such a position of power is not explained, and that too would make for good television drama.  Nevertheless Diack  came into power and saw a weakness in the organizational structure which enabled him to take advantage and enroll two of his sons Papa Massata Diack (PMD) and Khalil Diack (KD)  to work outside the chain of command as  consultants who handled the recruitment of cities to host various and sundry world championships and recruit corporate sponsors and in so doing rake in a series of favors  that would make Bernie Madoff weep. Not only that but these two lads were extremely enterprising in trying to extort money from athletes who had won Olympic medals but whose Athlete Biological Passports (ABP) had indicated an illegal pattern of doping.    I mean how could anyone sit on the board of any organization and not see such nepotism for what it was?  Had Diack been working out of an office in Dakar, I would think that he would  have just solicited bribes up front and treated them as cost of doing business.   But here in a European  organization of which he found himself the head honcho, he was able to ascertain that weakness in the organization as well as the gullability of Council and create that outside loop in which to insert Papa Massata and Khalil over whom no one had control , except Lamine, to loot would be sponsors for their 'services'.   "Sons, I think we just died and went to heaven."   We could suppose something like that was conveyed  over the Thanksgiving dinner table at the Diack household.  "Just don't put your saddle on the wrong horse."

But we should not  come down  hard soley  on the Diack homestead,  the report also mentions that Dr. Gabriel Dolle, the Medical Anti-Doping Department Head  of IAAF was also gathering a little bit of coinage to line his own pockets.   He could always look the other way regarding irregularities in Athete Biological Passports set up to detect blood changes over time for athletes competing at an international level.   Samples could get lost or misdirected.  Who are we  missing now  that we have the President and the Anti Doping Director  in our little web of deceit?  Oh yes, why the Treasurer, a Russian no less.  Add to this list a Presidential Legal Advisor, Habib Cisse, and you have a nice little circle of  interpersonal contact.   That defines the circle of 'interpersonal links' as WADA calls them.  That's all you need to usurp the whole organization if the rest of the IAAF Council is only a bunch of glad handers who don't give a shit as long as they get to fly around the world including  the groovy spots of Europe to be wined and dined and claim amnesia during their  years of service.  "Hey , let's not upset the apple cart here , Okay les amis? "

I'm sure the questions we as outsiders all want to know are yet to be answered.   One ,  how much did Seb Coe know?  Coe seems to get excused from  all this in the reports.   And Two, what athletes have been implicated including Kenyans and Ethiopians and Americans or for that matter  everybody?  We only get eleven names in Report #2.   In paragraph 10.5  WADA refers to an extortion by a high up individual in the Russian federation ARAF who demanded and received  300,000 euros to overlook a failed drug test of Lilya Shobukhova, marathoner extraordinaire.   It was also reported that under pressure of disclosure of this act of corruption , the money was paid back to Shobukhova through an organization called Black Tidings out of  Singapore.  I mean this is starting to look like a James Bond scenario.

Shobukhova, a former winner of the London and Chicago marathons, recently completed a doping ban that was cut from three years and two months to two years and seven months after Wada said she had provided assistance in its investigations.

The 37-year-old said a ban on Russian athletes would be punishing the innocent. “I don’t understand this recommendation from Wada,” she said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Sport Express. “What do the sportsmen have to do with this?   From the Guardian.
One might respond, 'We'll , you took the dope , Honey.   But what also came out in the IC investigation was that Russian athletes were told they would be booted out of the elite training programs if they refused to cooperate on taking PEDs.  
Who else  did the report(s) condemn?
All of the above and more.   I won't go into who else that includes, but you're wondering about athletes I'm sure.   It's just the Russians and a Turk, but what a Turk,  the women's 1500 meter gold medalist at London.

Paragraph 10.7 mentions a Turkish runner who got extorted.  We're talking Asli Alptekin nee Cakir who received 500,000 Euros for her 1500 win in London.   Problem was she had a nasty  ABP that the Liack boys got wind of through Gabriel Dolle.  Don't ask me why she wasn't sanctioned on the spot by the IOC.  Maybe the IOC doesn't have access to those drug tests or the mandate to do so.  Anyway the Liack boys Papa Massata and Khalil jumped on Alptekin in a hotel in Monaco like a mongoose on a cobra and suggested they could smooth things over for 650,000 Euros.   Their offer could be refused and was by  Alptekin, but the lads didn't take no for an answer.  They pursued Alptekin to Istanbul and Moscow, and finally took a 35,000 euro downpayment with balance due when the report would be dropped which never happened.  You can read all this starting on Page 31 in Report #2 below.  It's fascinating reading.

As to the Ruskkies, the following administrators, coaches, and athletes were recommended for sanctioning based on the IC's findings:
                 1. Dr. Sergey Nikolaevich  Chief of ARAF Medical Commission
                 2. Alexey Melnikov  Senior Coach and Head Coach for Russian Endurance
                 3. Vladmir Kazarin  Russian National Team 800 Coach
                 4. Viktor Chegin  Russian Race Walking Coach

Savinova, Kazarin, and Poistogva
IC recommendation Lifetime Ban
                 5. Ekaterina Poistogova   Middle Distance
                 6. Anastasiya Bazdyreva   400, 800
                 7. Mariya Savinova Farsonva  800
                 8. Kristina Ugarova   1500
                 9. Tatjana  Myazina  800

A number of others were investigated but there was insufficient evidence to recommend sanctioning.

For  more reading pleasure, and this is truly worth looking at, you can check out  independent testimony by a number of Russian athletes and coaches as to how they were involved in doping and covering their tracks (see  Report #2).   Report #1 is much longer but the chapters are well defined in the table of contents to lead you where you want to go.

WADA Independent Commission Report #1 Nov. 9, 2015

The more recent WADA report is seen at

WADA Independent Commission Report # 2

Since the general focus of our blog is more on the good old days, we will not dwell too deeply in this unseemly world of modern track and field.  However most of our readers' comments in this area reflect their general disgust with the way the world turns in these modern times.  We know that doping has been around for a long time going back to the early days of marathoning in the 1900s or even before.  But these days it seems to be pandemic, and it casts doubt on everyone  not only in our sport but in every sport.  GB

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