16:30 GMT28 February 2020
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    Speaking to RT on Tuesday, former head of the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency RUSADA Nikolai Durmanov suggested 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?"

    Earlier on Tuesday, hacking group Fancy Bear leaked alleged WADA documents showing that the agency allowed US tennis players Serena and Venus Williams, as well as Olympic gold-winning gymnast Simone Biles, to take banned substances for therapeutic purposes.

    In July, a WADA commission presented a report in which Russia was accused of running a state-sponsored doping program. Russia maintains that the findings were falsified and has urged the West to keep politics out of sports.


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