Moscow - Russia's sports minister on Thursday said that
experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency have begun procedures to copy data of
the anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, their second attempt to do so.
The team of WADA experts arrived in Russia Wednesday to
complete the promised extraction of data, including results of doping tests,
part of the long-running attempt by Moscow to clear accusations of
The experts "started working with a group of Russian
experts today", sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told Russian press
Representatives of the tainted Moscow lab as well as Russian
investigators were also present, he said.
"They began the work to assemble equipment,"
"The work is carried out in full coordination. We have
no doubt that the process will continue as planned."
WADA previously came to Moscow in December but could not
retrieve the data due to an unspecified problem with equipment.
Moscow subsequently missed the December 31 deadline to give
WADA full access to the lab data vital to implicate or clear athletes in doping
Kolobkov assured on Thursday that the problem had been fixed
and argued that the delay was not Russia's fault.
US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart said that despite
Thursday's developments, Russia should still be declared non-compliant as they
had missed the original December 31 deadline.
"We remain vigilant to ensure a full public disclosure
and accounting that the evidence obtained on the approximately 9 000
presumptive positive drug tests which exists in the laboratory is authentic and
valid and that justice is served for clean athletes in each and every
case," he said.
"It is in the clear public interest that WADA does this
openly and transparently."
In September, WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian
Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), after it was suspended for a state-sponsored
This paved the way for Russian athletes to return to
competition across all sports. But one of the conditions was data access by the
end of 2018.
WADA's leadership has been strongly criticised over its
decision to lift Russia's suspension before obtaining access to the Moscow lab.
The International Association of Athletics Federations said
it would maintain Russia's ban from track and field. The Russian athletics
teams were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championships in