Russian cyclists file suit against Wada and Dr Richard McLaren
TORONTO: Three Russian cyclists took legal action against the World Anti-Doping Agency and Canadian doping investigator Dr Richard McLaren.
Kirill Sveshnikov, Dmitry Strakhov and Dmitry Sokolov were unable to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics after Russian athletes were banned.
The McLaren report, an independent study commissioned by Wada, found evidence of state-sponsored doping. The cyclists allege they were "unfairly implicated".
Having initially been selected for the men's team pursuit in Rio, the three were banned after McLaren's report into doping in Russia found that positive test results had been covered up. They all deny cheating, but lost an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport before the Games.
The McLaren report did not name Sveshnikov, Strakhov and Sokolov but the cyclists say that they "suffered great reputational harm" and have filed a lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, claiming damages. "Together, Wada and Dr Richard McLaren prevented us from reaching our lifelong goal of participating in the Rio Olympics, the pinnacle of our sport, and we allege that they wrongly associated our names with cheaters and doping," said Sveshnikov. "We are asking the court to review all of the evidence and to vindicate us."
Wada declined to comment on the lawsuit. Last week McLaren denied reports by the head of the Russian Independent Anti-Doping Commission that he had dropped allegations of a state-sponsored doping programme, and insisted he "unequivocally stands by the results" of his probe.