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Coventry hails ban lift on Russia

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry has hailed the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to lift sanctions imposed on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

Kirsty Coventry is sworn in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Kirsty Coventry is sworn in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Coventry, who is also chairperson of the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission, said the decision would allow for greater transparency through increased testing and access to their labs and data by December.

“I believe our mandate is to protect all clean athletes and I believe there are clean Russian athletes. Blanket punishment is unfair to those who compete cleanly and even if there is only one clean Russian athlete, that athlete has the right to be protected. Assuming that every Russian athlete cheats is simply unjust,” said Coventry.

Coventry, who won swimming gold for Zimbabwe at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, said lifting of the ban will allow WADA to get the data necessary to prosecute athletes that take performance-enhancing drugs.

The commission she chairs is designed to be the athletes’ link in the decision-making process of the Olympic body.

The ban on RUSADA was lifted last Thursday, although the change will have no immediate effect on current bans on the Russian federations for athletics, weightlifting and Paralympics.

WADA executive committee members approved a lesser version of the ban and set another “clear timeline” for implementation of conditions for the ban to be lifted on the affected federations.

“These processes and strict deadlines need to be adhered to by RUSADA so the clean Russian athletes are given the chance they deserve and a level playing field is secured for everyone,” said Coventry. The Chronicle

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