'They want Russia back at any cost' - athletes' chair Vicki Aggar on Wada compromise

Russia
Sochi beat South Korea's Pyeongchang, which hosted the 2018 event, and Austria's Salzburg in the bidding process for the 2014 Olympics

On Thursday, Russia will find out if it is allowed back into world sport.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has suggested a compromise to Russia that would allow a suspension of its anti-doping agency (Rusada) to be lifted.

But an international member association of 67 anti-doping bodies says it is "dismayed" at the possibility of Russia being reinstated.

Meanwhile, Sir Chris Hoy has added his name to a growing list of British athletes urging Wada to reconsider lifting the ban.

And in a piece for BBC Sport, former GB Paralympic rower and Wada athlete committee member Vicki Aggar says Russia's potential return to sport is a "fudge".

"If the wrong, unethical decision is made on Thursday, the future of clean sport is on the line.

"We, the athletes are always told that we must uphold the rules in the interest of fair sport.

"If we must, then so must Wada. Anything else would be a travesty for clean athletes at a time when the anti-doping system needs to regain the trust that it once had.

"I have had the privilege to represent my country in different sports at the highest level - first athletics and then rowing - and so I know what it means to work hard and strive to reach the very top fairly.

"Regrettably, doping was always there at the top levels of sport, as the field becomes more competitive and the prize becomes ever-greater.

"Post-retirement, and with six years under my belt, I turned my attention to representing athletes, and there has been no more important issue facing athletes - and facing the future of sport - than doping.

"The outcome of the McLaren reports shocked me, shocked athletes everywhere and, frankly, shocked the world.

"All the talk of mouse holes, through-the-night swapping of test tubes, mixing samples, and secret state agency involvement was the stuff of spy novels, not elite sport we all thought.

"We couldn't have been further from the truth. It was all real, far too real. So real and shocking, in fact, that a Bafta and Academy Award-winning film Icarus was made.

"But the way the issue - which was the biggest scandal sport has ever faced - has since been dealt with has really punctured confidence in the anti-doping system.

"Clean athletes' surprise and bewilderment at Wada's sudden about-turn on Friday has since turned to frustration and anger.

"I know I speak for the majority when I say I am immensely frustrated that Wada - the global anti-doping authority no less - has substituted backing the rights of millions of clean athletes worldwide for the appeasement of a handful of sports administrators instead. Put simply, they want this put behind them - and they want Russia back at any cost.

"I would not be doing service to the millions of clean athletes worldwide - who I've been proud to represent on the Wada athletes commission for four years now - if I did not speak out and call this recommendation of Wada's for what it is: a shifting of the goalposts, a fudge, an unacceptable compromise.

"I've always been - and remain - supportive of a strong Wada, and that is why I have continued to fight for an independent organisation that can act as a regulator - not, as some would like it, a service provider. Wada should itself be able to sanction countries and sports that fall short of the rules, not hand that over to the International Olympic Committee.

"For its credibility and future, Wada must stand shoulder to shoulder with clean athletes. The world is watching."

Top Stories