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WADA blasts criticism of McLaren Report

By Robert Jones

The World Anti-Doping Agency has hit back at criticism from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach about the timing of its McLaren Report into Russian state-orchestrated doping.

Bach insisted the IOC could not be held responsible for the timing of the report and the scramble to assess the eligibility of Russian athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics, which start on Friday, and suggested WADA could have acted sooner.

But WADA president Sir Craig Reedie defended the agency's response to available evidence of Russian doping, and the timing of the McLaren Report's release on July 18, in a statement.

"It was only when CBS 60 Minutes and the New York Times, on May 8 and 12, 2016 respectively, published the allegations from the former director of the Moscow and Sochi laboratories, Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, that WADA had concrete evidence that could be investigated by initiating the McLaren Investigation, which we did immediately," said Reedie.

"Dr Rodchenkov was heard several times by the Pound Commission in 2015 and that he never provided the information that he later revealed to the New York Times in May 2016.

"WADA's executive committee supported Professor McLaren's independent mandate, which was to obtain evidence as quickly as possible in the interest of clean athletes. While it is destabilising in the lead up to the Games, they had to be published and acted upon without delay."

The McLaren Report recommended a blanket ban for Russian athletes for Rio but the IOC decided that the international federations should rule on their eligibility in their sports and has since set up an independent panel to give a final decision.

WADA has cancelled its pre-Games press conference to avoid it being overshadowed by the Russian doping crisis.

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