WADA team behind schedule in extracting Moscow lab data

The WADA team returned to Moscow last Wednesday, after Russian authorities missed a December deadline to provide access to the lab.

A file photo of lab technicians working at Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow.   -  AP Photo

World Anti-Doping Agency experts are taking longer than expected to extract testing data from the old Moscow anti-doping laboratory, a spokesperson for the agency told AFP on Tuesday.

The WADA team returned to Moscow last Wednesday, after Russian authorities missed a December deadline to provide access to the lab. When the WADA experts began extracting data on Thursday, it was estimated that the task would take three days.

“No limit was put on the duration of the mission. It is taking longer than had been originally estimated, but the team is facing no specific issues or difficulties in carrying out their task,” said the spokesperson.

“The large quantity and high complexity of the data, as well as the fact the servers and hard drives being accessed are not all brand new, means it is taking longer than originally anticipated.”

In September, WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), paving the way for its reinstatement.

One of the conditions was access being granted to the data by the end of 2018. The data concerns thousands of tests carried out from 2011 to 2015 when Russia has been accused of state-sponsored doping.

But when a WADA team arrived in December, Russian authorities raised issues with the certification of their equipment under Russian law.

WADA's Compliance Review Committee (CRC) began a scheduled two-day meeting in Montreal on Monday.

“The CRC meeting will conclude today as planned,” said the spokesperson. “At every stage, the CRC has been kept up to date on latest developments in Moscow and it will complete and send its report only once the technical team has concluded its work.”

The WADA executive committee, which will decide on the fate of RUSADA, meets on 22 January.

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