World
How Russia Hid Its Doping in Plain Sight

A World Anti-Doping Agency report alleges widespread, widely accepted doping in track and field

 

On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a report painting Russia's sports programs as doping machines reminiscent of East Germany's erstwhile state-sponsored drug programs.

 

This year we've written about the use of prescription drugs to enhance performance and why it's so hard to catch dopers. But in Russia, there appeared to be no need for ever-more advanced maneuvering to evade positive tests. In Russia, athletes simply needed cash anda culture that rewarded a no-holds-barred drive for champions.

 

WADA's independent commission report recommended that Russian track and field athletes be banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics, and suggested lifetime sports bans for five coaches and five track and field athletes 2014 among them the gold and bronze medalists from the women's 800 meters at the 2012 Olympics. The report contained a litany of cloak-and-dagger offenses that transcend typical doping violations. Among them:

 

  • Russian secret service agents infiltrated and spied on Moscow's WADA-accredited laboratory during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
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  • A secret, second laboratory in Moscow pre-screened drug testing samples before choosing which to send on to the WADA-accredited lab for official testing.
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  • Grigory Rodchenko, head of the WADA-accredited anti-doping lab in Moscow, was involved in the intentional destruction of 1,417 samples before WADA's independent commission could have them retested. The samples were likely from a range of sports, but are now lost forever.
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  • Rodchenko, the report said, was also involved in extorting Russian athletes in order to cover up their positive drug tests.
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  • Athletes regularly bribed doping control officers.
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  • The "Russian State" directly interfered with operations at the anti-doping lab in Moscow and intimidated people who worked there, compromising the lab's independence.
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  • The Russian Anti-Doping Agency failed to follow up on athletes whose samples showed abnormal blood profiles.
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  • Russian secret service agents at times interfered with drug testing samples.
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  • Athletes who were under active sanctions for doping where sometimes allowed to compete.

Thus far, Russian officials have claimed that the report is unfair and politically motivated. The country is set to host the World Cup in 2018.

 

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Chinese lights spell darkness for traditional potters this Diwali
For generations, Indian homes were lit up by diyas, or traditional earthen lamps, during Diwali. Potters now complain that customers prefer cheaper Chinese electrical lighting or more pricey products in shopping malls, jeopardizing their livelihoods.
 
Until a few years ago, hundreds of potters and their families would be overworked in the run up to Diwali, churning out tens of thousands of small and big clay lamps that would brighten innumerable homes and businesses.
 
The diya business has now sharply declined.
 
"There is a huge fall in the sale of diyas. For what is supposed to be a festival of lights, our life has entered a dark phase," Harkishan, the head of Kumhar Gram, Delhi's largest colony for potters, told IANS.
 
"Diwali has lost its traditional charm as Chinese products have taken over the Indian markets.
 
"People are more interested in decorating their homes with Chinese lights or jelly candles rather than with the traditional diyas," he said.
 
Harkishan, 60, who won the National Award for Terracotta art in 1990, is not the only one despairing.
 
Harkishan, who arrived in Kumhar Gram in 1971 from Haryana, said the latest products in markets had jolted their business. "Every year there is at least a 30 percent fall in sales.
 
"Chinese products are choking our business," he said, adding that today's young ones may simply turn their back on diyas and other earthen products.
 
Krishna, 30, another potter, agreed.
 
"Earlier we did not even get time to rest during Diwali. But now we do not even sell half the products we prepare. Diwali is no more a busy time," added Krishna, who learnt the craft from her family elders.
 
"Now people head to malls and supermarkets. They are no more interested in buying earthen lamps and more from potters," Krishna told IANS.
 
"Worse is they don't mind spending more on other products. We hardly get a customer or two now. How can we survive?"
 
Others in the potters' hub said that often prepared products -- including diyas -- remain unsold. This never used to happen until about five years ago.
 
There was a time when Indian families went only for simple earthen lamps. Now the demand is mainly for decorated and fancy lamps.
 
No wonder many potters are slowly moving away from their traditional business in search of greener pastures.
 
"Only years ago our shops used to be crowded during Diwali. Now we wait and wait for buyers," complained a woman who has been selling clay products in Malviya Nagar in south Delhi for the past 30 years.
 
Different types of clay are used to prepare diyas. Much of it comes from Haryana, Harkishan explained, adding that even the quality of clay was not as good as it used to be earlier.
 
Potters are angry that successive governments have not done much to protect the traditional business of pottery.
 
"Earlier soil (clay), used to prepare diyas, was easily available in Delhi itself," another potter said. "Now we have to bring it from states such as Haryana and Rajasthan.
 
"We face several problems while transporting the clay. Shouldn't the government be taking care of such simple issues?"
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Lufthansa cancels three flights out of India
German airlines Lufthansa on Monday cancelled three scheduled flights from India owing to a strike by its staff that has effected its international operations.
 
The airline cancelled flights between New Delhi-Munich, Mumbai-Munich and New Delhi-Frankfurt on Monday. 
 
"At the moment, there is still no visibility about the strike situation tomorrow," the airline said in a statement.
 
Lufthansa operates 47 frequencies a week to and from five Indian metros under the Indo-German air bilateral agreement. The five metros are New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune.
 
Lufthansa along other group companies such as Swiss and Austrian Airlines offers a total of 67 flights per week to and from India.
 
The company's cabin crew union Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO) has called for a flight attendants' strike.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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