Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
I address You as the leader of our great sport nation, the leader of a multi-ethnic nation, whose sport has always been and will always be a significant part of life, the pride of Russia. Russia is a great sporting nation with a great sporting history. We have always been and will be proud of the achievements of our outstanding Olympic athletes and our dedicated Paralympians.
Guided by my professional duty, by concern for the present and future of the sports, anti-doping movement of Russia, I have to turn to You, based on the exceptional significance of the event related to the failure to fulfil obligations for the provision of access and transfer of data on athletes’ samples stored in the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, which were declared for transfer until 31 December 2018 and are one of the conditions for ensuring compliance of the RAA “RUSADA” as the core of the Russian anti-doping system. As Director General of RUSADA, as a citizen of Russia, I express my concern not so much about the possible loss of RUSADA status of compliance, as about the consequences following failure to comply with the conditions for the return of the world anti-doping code compliance status, when our athletes will be suspended from participation in all international competitions, when we lose the right to hold international competitions on the territory of Russia, when we lose the right to participate in the management of international sports organizations (including our native sports).
Within 3 months we have been unable to transfer the data on the samples stored in the Moscow laboratory, with the IOC and international sports federations among its owners. The Moscow laboratory database is under continuous speculations interfering our sport. Russia as no one else should be interested in managing the problems of its past. Today, the shadows of the negative past hinder the development of our sport.
Withdrawal status of compliance of RUSADA, the central link of the Russian anti-doping system, which in a short period not only fully restored its functionality, but also became one of the best in the world, which was confirmed by the successfully passed WADA audit a few weeks ago, will lead to Russia’s sports self-isolation. Self-isolation is disadvantageous to Russia, which was proved by well-organized Football World Cup 2018 held in Russia. Openness and public diplomacy have destroyed the negative political labels imposed on Russia by our detractors, and a real, attractive Russia – a country open to sports – have best demonstrated to the world.
We are at the edge of the abyss, and I ask You to protect the present and future of our fair sport, present and future generations of athletes. During the past year the young and professional team of RUSADA has done everything to restore confidence in the anti-doping system of Russia, to return our athletes the opportunity to fully participate in international competitions, to return international competitions to excellent sports facilities in Russia, and today Russia has returned the right to host international competitions in 2019, 2021 and 2022.
We have always been on the side of the truth and now, violating international anti-doping rules, we have moved to an unusual side for us. Trust is very difficult to regain when the ghosts of the past deter us from moving forward.
The question is not how many positive samples will be found in the Moscow laboratory, but what we will do with this. After all, obstruction in the investigation of the Moscow laboratory database, whether we like it or not, indicates the interest of persons who impede the investigation, the transfer of data and samples.
This is not only a problem of professional sports, it is a problem of the sporting life of such a great country as Russia, which will affect the formation of the personnel reserve and the development of mass sports – the implementation of the tasks specified in Your May decrees. This situation can last no more, it requires urgent resolution. We must also think about the future of the new Moscow anti-doping laboratory, which will start its work not from scratch, but will take over the history of the former laboratory.
No one will ever take away the legacy of the winter Olympics in Sochi, which was one of the best in the world in terms of organization. Russia deserves to be fully represented in the international sports arena, we need victories in sports, victories that no one will take away from us.
Doping has been and remains an international problem that has been and is being faced by all the world’s leading sports powers, and thanks to our efforts, Russia is becoming a full-fledged member of the global anti-doping movement. We are keeping our children from streets and give them to the sport not to get them stuffed by doping. We need healthy children, physically and spiritually healthy athletes who will continue the glory of Russian sport.
Happy New year, which we all look forward to with excitement for the fate of our sport, for the fate of the present and future generations of athletes, for the fate of our anti-doping movement, which returns the trust of the international sports family. And I sincerely believe that on December 31, with the chiming, we will not count the time to RUSADA status of compliance withdrawal and – as a result – the sports self-isolation of Russia, but will count the time until the New year, full of victories and achievements, opening new horizons for our athletes.
Thank You for Your attention.
• This Open Letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin was published by Yuri Ganus, Director General of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on 27 December 2018. Click here for the original.
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