World Triathlon has announced sanctions against the Russian Triathlon Association, marking another strike against the Country’s anti doping record.
This round of sanctions comes on the heels of Alexander Bryukhankov and Igor Polyanskiy’s 3 year bans for EPO use as well as the country’s current unilateral ban from using Russian iconography at international events.
The problem inherently lies in Russia’s inability to take fault for their nationalized approach to sports as well as their relaxed doping protocols even after sanctions were passed down following the revelations from Grigory Rodchenkov in 2015.
This isn’t to say that no other country’s athletes are spitting in the face of antidoping — see Shelby Houlihan’s doping case — but no other country’s leaders are baiting WADA into more sanctions following their citizen’s apparent cheating.
This is a country that will say, “Our position is that the Olympic Games should be free of politics” in the face of diplomatic boycotts in Beijing.
However, the same country will then make a statement following the appointing of a new head of RUSADA — that says, “We hope that the operational activities of the renewed RUSADA will allow us to fulfill the state task, strengthen the authority of our country in the international arena and return our flag, anthem, sports uniform with Russian symbols in December 2022.”
…Sounds pretty political to me.
Will added sanctions add to a renewed sense of urgency inside Russian Sports to clean up their athletes?
Or is this just another opportunity to play the “us vs them” card that Russian leaders love to play in the face of international wrongdoings?
Only time will tell.