Ukraine anti-doping agency chief resigns after WADA probe

The head of Ukraine’s anti-doping agency resigns after WADA accuses his organisation of violations going back years.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: The WADA investigation uncovered evidence that since 2012 the NADC had routinely tipped off athletes prior to testing.

The head of Ukraine’s anti-doping agency resigned on Wednesday, the sports ministry said, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused his organisation of violations going back years.

WADA said the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Ukraine (NADC) had given athletes advance notice of what were supposed to be random out-of-competition tests in a scheme dating back nearly a decade.

Ukrainian sports minister Vadym Guttsait said in a statement that the NADC had violated international testing standards and that “therefore, today, the director of NADC Ivan Kurlischuk and his deputy Yaroslav Kruchek resigned.”

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“The ministry states that we take a clear stance in the fight against doping and will not allow anyone to violate anti-doping rules," the statement read.

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The WADA investigation - dubbed “Operation Hercules” - uncovered evidence that since 2012 the NADC had routinely tipped off athletes prior to testing. Instead of conducting random, out-of-competition tests - a key pillar of the fight against drug cheats - the NADC would contact athletes to arrange for testing at the organisation’s offices the following day.

Investigators also found that the NADC categorised at least six in-competition athletes samples as out-of-competition samples ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics. The six samples in question were re-analysed by WADA but came back negative.

The Operation Hercules findings will now be turned over to WADA’s Compliance Review Committee for possible sanction.