Anti-doping director wary of discord

One of the world’s leading anti-doping scientists cringes at finger-pointing toward the World Anti-Doping Agency by leaders in international sports and tells AP that with so much conflict, “the only people who can be happy these days are the dopers and the cheaters.”

Christiane Ayotte, the director of the WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Montreal, said in an interview with AP this week that she is wary of the anti-doping summit the International Olympic Committee is holding Saturday — a meeting at which the future of the drug-fighting movement will be discussed. The summit will include only one representative from WADA: President Craig Reedie, who also serves as an IOC member.

“What’s the plan? What’s the goal? Who is invited and what’s going to happen?” Ayotte asks. “What we really need to do is regroup and show a united front.”

The summit will include several IOC members, along with presidents of the American, Russian and Chinese Olympic committees and heads of some of the world’s biggest Olympic sports. Top on the agenda is a proposal to make the anti-doping system separate from the individual sports federations , most of which operate their own anti-doping programs under WADA guidelines.

A different set of IOC members attended a similar summit that WADA held last month , but they identified different priorities, including bringing more funds into the agency to allow it to bolster its investigative and sanctioning powers, and improving its system for allowing whistleblowers to come forward.

Ayotte said experts in the anti-doping movement are in the best position to make long-term decisions about WADA, which receives half of its funding from the IOC and half from governments around the world. She described the IOC as a group that “gets into testing every two years (at the Olympics), and otherwise, they’re not there. For us, this is our everyday life.”

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