WADA always adheres to consistent attitude, unified principles of anti-doping: Banka

Montreal (Canada), April 23 :The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Witold Banka has refuted false allegations about possible cover-ups, saying that WADA always maintains a consistent attitude and unified principles towards anti-doping.

In a nearly two-hour virtual media conference, Banka and other key officials of WADA addressed the scientific facts, procedures, transparency and legal issues of the case concerning Chinese swimmers.

Banka said that at every stage WADA followed all due processes and diligently investigated every lead and line of the enquiry in this matter, reports Xinhua.

“If we had to do it over again, we would do exactly the same thing,” the president insisted.

WADA General Counsel, Ross Wenzel, stressed that this case is not without precedent, citing a case involving more than 10 athletes, which occurred on U.S. soil in 2014, in which WADA accepted a similar finding of no-fault contamination by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for those athletes, and no athletes were charged with anti-doping violations.

“We carefully reviewed the decision of CHINADA (China Anti-Doping Agency) from every perspective,” Banka said, “We interrogated every piece of evidence and gathered further information as appropriate.”

“As a part of this review we collected additional unpublished scientific information on the substance in question and consulted independent scientific experts to test the contamination theory. No credible evidence of wrongdoing was provided by any source who came forward so the threshold to open an investigation was not met,” Banka added.

WADA Director of Intelligence and Investigations, Gunter Younger, said that the behaviour of the Chinese authorities had not suggested any wrongdoing.

“Why should they test them and report them positive knowing that will cause lots of problems for them later? ” Younger argued, “All the things we discussed and the experience we have in our department, if we found any indication that something was wrong we would go after it. But in this case, with the information we have currently, we would not do anything different.”

WADA Vice President Yang Yang, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, said, “Anti-doping work largely relies on science. Simultaneously, due to the complex external environment, such as improper policies, crimes, and political interventions, etc., we must possess a set of efficient and transparent management systems that is able to withstand the test and to guarantee the implementation of our work.”

“We have to enable athletes to have confidence in the system, also avoid innocent athletes being hurt. We have been working on this for these years, especially through governance reform in the past few years, and we are confident in facing these challenges now,” Yang noted.

A group of Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ) at low concentrations at the national swimming championships in January 2021. CHINADA launched an in-depth and detailed investigation and reported that those athletes were inadvertently exposed to the substance through contamination.

The WADA Science Department reviewed this case thoroughly in June and July 2021 and concluded that there was no concrete basis to challenge the asserted contamination.

According to WADA, in order to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the athletes, doping violations are not handled and the relevant parities have not appealed the case, and the results of the processing are not published.

Following some misleading and potentially defamatory media coverage recently, WADA said it has reserved its right to take legal action as appropriate.

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