Is Russian Government Ignoring the Impact of WADA Ban on Athletes?

Is Russian Government Ignoring the Impact of WADA Ban on Athletes? 

Last updated on September 19th, 2020

As the World Anti-Doping Agency (WAAD) announced its decision to ban Russia from International Sports for the next four years, sportsman all over the world have expressed mixed reactions. Some are terming the punishment as a political conspiracy, others claim it to be a well-deserved punishment.

Heads of various sports federations and politicians strongly disapprove of the WADA ban, calling it to be a political move. Russian sporting officials claim that they will try to appeal against a ban that would let ‘clean’ athletes compete under a neutral flag at the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo.

Being accused of doping since the early 2000s, Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev affirmed that “significant doping problems still exist” in the sporting community of Russia. But termed WADA’s decision as a part of “chronic anti-Russian hysteria” that punished athletes who had already become victim of the heat wave.

As per the head of the Russian Biathlon Union, Vladimir Drachev, the WADA ban is “extremely wrong and biased. The decision made today is a political one rather than one related to sports.” He claims that blocking young athletes from representing Russia is wrong. He emphasised on the fact that sports and politics shouldn’t be mixed, highlighting that strong athletes must compete and represent their country, they should not perform under a neutral flag.

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Moscow could appeal a decision by the WADA to bar Russia from all major sporting events. Consequently, Russia will not be able to participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar.

The WADA ban has deeply hurt the sentiments of honest Russian athletes and shattered the dreams of future athletes who were preparing for upcoming sports events. Speaking to a Russian television, a retired Olympic speedskater and an existing member of the Russian parliament, Svetlana Zhurova said that the decision “hurt me personally as an athlete … why lay collective responsibility [for the doping scandal] on a 15-year-old girl? On our fantastic figure skaters, synchronised swimmers or athletes in sports where nobody has even heard about a doping scandal?”

Negligent about the impact of mental health of athletes, the Russian government remains optimistic about the future. Sources claim that they are sure that the WADA ban would not impact the Russian Grand Prix. Also, the President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich believes that the Russian chess players will still be allowed to participate in global events like Chess Olympiad.

It remains to be seen if the Russian government will consider the interests of their athletes despite the so-called political war.

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