USADA accuses WADA chief of smearing US athletes


USADA criticised Banka for distorting facts to deflect from concerns regarding WADA’s handling of the Chinese swimmers’ positive tests….reports Asian Lite News

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has accused Witold Banka, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), of attempting to divert attention from WADA’s handling of the case involving 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive before the Tokyo Olympics.

USADA’s statement on Monday came in response to Banka’s comments during an extraordinary virtual meeting of WADA’s Foundation Board on Friday.

USADA criticised Banka for distorting facts to deflect from concerns regarding WADA’s handling of the Chinese swimmers’ positive tests.

The swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine, a performance-enhancing drug, but were not sanctioned after Chinese authorities attributed the results to food contamination at their hotel.

“Clean athletes, especially as we approach the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, deserve to know how a prescription drug, only available in pill form, found its way into a restaurant kitchen,” USADA said in an official statement.

“Raising even more questions, is the suggestion that the drug managed to remain in that kitchen for months, at a time when strict COVID protocols required the most extensive cleaning regimens of public-facing facilities we have ever experienced.”

“And, of course, even if this ‘immaculate contamination’ did happen, why did WADA allow China to escape its failure to follow the rules in not finding a first violation, no disqualification, or public announcement?” the USADA asked.

USADA Chief Travis Tygart described the situation as a “potential cover-up.” Banka cited three US doping cases resulting from environmental contamination, similar to the Chinese swimmers’ cases.

However, USADA clarified that these cases led to public disclosure, violations, and disqualifications for the athletes involved.

“It is painful to see the credibility of the global anti-doping system diminished by the day due to WADA leadership’s refusal to publish the China file for a fair, transparent, and unbiased review of how 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for a drug known worldwide for enhancing performance,” USADA said in an official statement.

Banka also mentioned “inconsistent rule implementation in the US” and claimed that 90 percent of American athletes, including those in professional leagues and college sports, do not adhere to the world anti-doping code.

USADA criticized this remark as manipulative and harmful, highlighting that major US sports leagues have robust anti-doping systems.

USADA emphasized that college athletes become subject to WADA rules when competing in events sanctioned by international governing bodies.

The agency accused Banka of resorting to diversion tactics and personal attacks, characterizing his comments as misinformation and half-truths aimed at undermining US athletes.

In conclusion, USADA condemned Banka’s remarks as damaging and insulting to athletes and sports leagues, alleging that they were part of an attempt to deflect attention and discredit US athletes.

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