'We got what we deserved' - Russian athletes react to WADA ban for doping offences

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA  DECEMBER 9, 2019: A view of the Russian Olympic Committee headquarters. On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Committee (WADA) ruled to ban Russia from taking part in all major international sporting events for four years, including the upcoming Summer and Winter Olympics. Sergei Fadeichev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Fadeichev\TASS via Getty Images)
Russian Olympic Committee headquarters (Credit: Getty Images)

Current and former Russian athletes have reacted to the news that the country has been banned from competing in all major sport, saying ‘we got what we deserve’.

On Monday, Russia was banned from all major sporting events for four years by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

Athletes will be allowed to compete if they can prove that they are untainted by the recent doping scandal, but will have to compete independently – the Russian flag and anthem will be not be allowed at major events.

Speaking to the Moscow Times, four-time Olympic biathlon champion Alexander Tikhonov, said: “We got what we deserved. I am with WADA on this one.”

Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) director general Yury Ganus holds a press conference in Moscow on December 9, 2019. - Russia will miss next year's Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games after the World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned the powerhouse from global sporting events for four years over manipulated doping data. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
RUSADA director general Yury Ganus (Credit: Getty Images)

The ban affects next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as the 2022 World Cup. The ban does not affect Euro 2020 (where St Petersburg is a host city), as UEFA is not defined as a 'major event organisation'.

Wada's executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

READ MORE: Russia banned from all major sport by WADA for four years

Russia's Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was required to hand over data to WADA as part of the investigation into manipulating lab data after the country was reinstated in 2018 following a previous three-year ban for doping offences.

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA  SEPTEMBER 25, 2016: Yevgeny Kafelnikov returns the ball in a mixed doubles match as part of the tennis legends show at the 2016 St. Petersburg Open. Andrei Ivanov/TASS (Photo by Andrei Ivanov\TASS via Getty Images)
Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Credit: Getty Images)

Former tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who won two Grand Slam titles, as well as Olympic gold in 2000, condemned his country’s doping record. The 45-year-old said: “There was systemised doping in Russia, I have no doubt about it. Someone should be punished for it. Russian sport could have restored its reputation if the people who started it all just went out and said: 'Yes, I screwed up, please forgive me.' But no one wants to take responsibility for this. In the end, everything is shifted on the poor athletes.”

While a number of Russian athletes were vocal in calling out the reported state-wide doping, the country’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev preferred to point the finger further afield. Medvedev said: "The fact that all these decisions are repeated, and often in relation to athletes who have already been punished in one way or another ... suggests that this is a continuation of the anti-Russian hysteria that has already become a chronic condition."

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Russia's Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was required to hand over data to WADA as part of the investigation into manipulating lab data after the country was reinstated in 2018 following a previous three-year ban for doping offences.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives a live interview on the annual results of the government work to journalists of Russia's television channels in Moscow on December 5, 2019. (Photo by Dmitry Astakhov / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by DMITRY ASTAKHOV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Credit: Getty Images)

Rusada has now failed to do so and declared ‘non-compliant’ by WADA. It has 21 days to appeal the decision but Yuri Ganus, Russia’s anti-doping chief, says “There is no chance of winning this case in court.”

At the 2018 Winter Olympics, 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “The Executive Committee’s (ExCo) strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the Agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the Compliance Review Committee (CRC), and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the Compliance Standard which entered into effect in April 2018. Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.

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