A leaked document has shown that the World Anti-Doping Agency covered Serena and Venus Williams’ use of banned substances. The secret was revealed when a group of hackers, Fancy Bear, snooped the agency’s files and discovered the tennis stars, as well as Olympic gold-medallist, Simone Biles, had been allowed to take banned substances before the Olympic Games. The crime, according to reports, had been committed sometime between 2010 and 2015. The WADA had said the athletes were allowed access to the drugs for therapeutic reasons.
The news has left Russian chiefs angry as the country was banned from the Olympics over alleged state-sponsored doping. Former Russian National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Nikolai Durmanov, said the World Anti-Doping Agency’s position on the use of what he characterized as “very heavy drugs” among world athletes highlights key flaws in the agency’s standards.
“We are facing a quite curious phenomenon: some athletes can take drugs that are forbidden for other athletes, if they can prove they crucially need them because of medical indications,” Durmanov said.
“For instance, therapeutic exceptions have been made for the Williams sisters and Simone Biles.
“But the thing is, these are very heavy drugs. Oxycodone, hydromorphone, ritalin — these are psychotropic drugs, painkillers, that are usually prescribed in dire circumstances, in a moments of life or death. They are kin to morphine and heroin.
“They are forbidden in [Russia], and one can get thrown in jail for some 14 years for possessing them illegally in Europe.
“Thus, with all respect to therapeutic exceptions, I’d like to ask: if sportsmen are being prescribed such heavy drugs, maybe they should be in an intensive therapy ward, and not take part in the Olympics?”
Russia still maintains that the findings which led to their ban from the Games were falsified and has called on the WADA to keep politics away from sports.