More Russian doping cases in pipeline as investigation ends

MONTREAL (AP) — Another wave of Russian athletes could face new doping charges after the World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday it completed its investigation of a vast trove of evidence.

After obtaining a data archive from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory last year, WADA investigators focused on a “target pool” of 298 athletes, putting together evidence packages for other sports authorities to prosecute.

WADA said the athletes came from sports governed by 27 different international federations, but didn’t say which.

“The Russian doping crisis has dominated WADA’s time and resources over the past five years and the agency’s investigations team has been on the front line,” WADA president Witold Banka said in a statement. “I would like to thank them for their diligence, professionalism and expertise, as well as the organizations that have now received case packages for the work they will do and their ongoing cooperation in protecting clean sport and for bringing as many cheats to justice as possible.”

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Prosecuting the cases could be extremely difficult. WADA has argued the data archive was manipulated while in Russia, with some evidence deleted and false trails laid. That’s the basis of an ongoing legal battle to ban Russia from the Olympics and other major events for four years.

Of the 298 athletes WADA has investigated, it says it found signs of manipulation in files relating to 145 of them.

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