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2ND LEAD Bach wants anti-doping overhauled as Pound calls for extra session By John Bagratuni, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Tuesday called for a full overhaul of anti-doping measures in the wake of the Russia crisis.

Criticising the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) again for its timing of a latest report on Russia which saw the IOC and sports federations scramble to check the eligibility of Russian athletes, the German boss of the IOC said that a full reform was needed.

He was joined in this call by many other of the 86 IOC members present at the 129th IOC Session ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics which open on Friday.

Bach also had a proposal accepted by 85-1 votes that endorsed the IOC executive board decision not to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes although World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigator Richard McLaren had spoken of widespread and state-sponsored doping in Russian sport on July 18.

Several IOC members including Canada‘s Richard Pound called for an extraordinary session to deal with doping. Pound, the first WADA president, was also critical of the vote conducted by Bach.

"If all you are looking for is recognition that‘s fine. But we need to do a lot more to show we do more about fair play and clean competition," he said. "If we want to be the thought leader and moral force of sport we have to do that among ourselves."

Bach had earlier defended the July 24 decision of the executive board to allow Russian athletes to the Rio Games which open on Friday.

"It was called by some the nuclear option and clean athletes were the collateral damage. This comparison is completely out of proportion. The result is death and destruction, that is not what the Olympic Movement stands for. The Olympic movement stands for life and the construction of a better future," he said.

In order to improve matters, Bach said that "we need a full review of WADA‘s anti-doping system. The IOC calls for a more robust and efficient anti-doping system."

"We need and want WADA as the independent leader. We need through WADA the cooperation with the world governments. We want WADA to be more efficient," the IOC boss added.

Like Bach, Israel‘s IOC member Alex Gilady raised the question why WADA hadn‘t taken action when approached for the first time by whistleblowers a few years ago.

"It‘s not the reputation of the IOC but that of WADA that has to be restored," he said.

Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said the Russian case highlighted "the shortcomings of the current anti-doping system" and said WADA also failed in its handling of the meldonium issue.

Zhukov also spoke of "interference of politics in sport" after politicians in some countries had joined athletes, anti-doping agencies and western media in calling for a full ban.

New athletes committee chair Angela Ruggiero of "a pivotal moment" for the Olympic Movement, while a few IOC members meanwhile criticised the exclusion of Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova as a wrong signal.

"Unfortunately the decision to exclude Stepanova does harm the fight against doping," Britain‘s Adam Pengilly said.

The Olympians were then united in their appreciation of the first ever refugee team at Olympics, with the 10 athletes from countries including Syria and Congo receiving a standing ovation.

Bach spoke of "a message of hope" while Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini said: "We didn‘t choose to leave our homelands, we didn‘t choose the name of refugee."

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