Los Angeles - Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov said on Tuesday
the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) risked a "catastrophe for clean
sport" if it lifts a suspension against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency
later this week.
Former Moscow laboratory chief Rodchenkov, who lifted the
lid on Russia's doping scandal in 2015, said Russia could only be readmitted if
it acknowledged the government role in the scandal and provided full access to
past test results.
"WADA must not fall prey to manipulation and false
assertions from the Ministry (of Sport), the same arm of the Kremlin that facilitated
the doping program and asserted false compliance," Rodchenkov wrote in a
USA Today editorial.
"To do so, would be nothing short of a catastrophe for
Rodchenkov's comments come two days before WADA meets in the
Seychelles to discuss Russia's status.
The global drug-testing watchdog revealed last week that its
compliance committee had recommended lifting its three-year suspension after
receiving assurances from Russia's Ministry of Sport.
The apparent softening of WADA's stance triggered an outcry
from athletes and national anti-doping agencies around the world, who accused
WADA of caving in to pressure from the International Olympic Committee.
Rodchenkov, one of the architects of the doping program
exposed by WADA's investigations branch under lawyer Richard McLaren, urged the
agency to hold firm in its demands.
"I feel it's important to clarify what is a clear and
firm demand from WADA, that there must be a full recognition of the McLaren
Report by Russian sports authorities and that they must hand over all evidence,
including the database and all physical samples, in the Moscow
laboratory," said Rodchenkov, who now lives in hiding in the United
"It is clear that given the circumstances we face in
the standoff between WADA and Russia, and any decision by WADA to reinstate
RUSADA - which would then be followed by the reinstatement of the Moscow
laboratory - would be a catastrophe for Olympic sport ideals, the fight against
doping and the protection of clean athletes."
The United States Anti-Doping Agency has been scathing of
the prospect of Russia being readmitted this week.
On Tuesday, the United States Olympic Committee also urged
caution, stating that WADA must make a decision that leaves athletes feeling
they are competing on a "level playing field, without any doubts."
"Anything that stops short of satisfying that will not
only be a huge disappointment to the USOC and American athletes, but to the
entire Olympic and Paralympic movements," USOC chief executive Sarah Hirshland
said in a statement.