The World Anti-Doping Agency has for the third year upheld the ruling that the Russian anti-doping agency doesn’t adhere to world standards, threatening the country’s participation at the Winter Olympics in February.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was first declared “non-compliant” by WADA in late 2015. Russia’s athletics and Paralympic teams were banned from the Rio Olympics as a result.
WADA’s ruling on Thursday puts pressure on the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia from the upcoming Winter Games. The IOC is expected to issue rulings on Russia’s participation at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea next month.
Ahead of the WADA decision, Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov denied Russia ever ran a state-run doping scheme.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov also denied accusations that Russia prevented international investigators from accessing doping samples.
Clean Russian athletes maybe be able to compete under a neutral flag and without the Russian national anthem, a proposition that high-level officials rejected as a non-starter.
Last week, WADA announced that a whistleblower had supplied it with Russia’s testing data from 2012 through mid-2015.
Russia’s investigators on Nov. 13 — a week after concluding there was no state-run doping program — agreed to cooperate with WADA.