BELGRADE – The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed on Tuesday that global Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) had been hacked leaking information on alleged doping abuse among titled US athletes and blamed the cyber-attack on Russia.
Fancybear.net web portal of hackers announced earlier that it hacked the ADAMS and leaked documents proving that WADA allowed US tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams as well as US four-time Olympic Champion in gymnastics Simone Biles and women’s basketball player Elena Dolle Donne taking banned performance enhancing drugs.
“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirms that a Russian cyber espionage group operator by the name of Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear, illegally gained access to WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database via an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account for the Rio 2016 Games,” the agency said in its statement.
The statement quoted WADA Director General Olivier Niggli as saying that the global agency “deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act.”
“WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia,” Niggli said.
“Let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report,” he said.
The WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor, Richard McLaren, released the now-infamous July 18 report on the results of a probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
In 2013 Monte Carlo Masters Serbian tennis player Viktor Troicki had been comprehensively outplayed in the first round, but as a matter of procedure, he still needed to complete a blood test. It’s a routine process for most players, but Troicki has a deep-seated phobia of needles which makes every test a trauma. Feeling unwell, he requested it to be postponed to the following morning, tennis.com reported at the time.
Troicki and his team say that the on-site doping control officer agreed, he took the test next day, and thought nothing more of it. As with every other test taken throughout his career, the results returned negative. But to his horror, two days later he received an email from the ITF informing him that he faced a potential two-year ban for allegedly refusing to take the test on time.
Three months later, he was banned from tennis for 18 months. An ITF tribunal panel refuted his claim that their official had told him he could postpone it. “Her response was that this was not a matter upon which she could advise the player,” the panel said.
Croatian tennis player Marin Cilic has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant but citing mitigating circumstances.
The Croat’s doping violation came when he tested positive for nikethamide – a stimulant – at the BMW Open in Munich in May 2013. But Cilic argued the banned substance was in his system after taking Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased for him from a pharmacy.
A statement from the ITF read: “Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and he therefore met the preconditions which entitle him to a reduction of the Period of Ineligibility for Specified Substance based on an assessment of his fault.
“It was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, are also disqualified, and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.”
Andy Murray has called Viktor Troicki and Marin Cilic “unprofessional” for falling foul of the game’s drugs laws, although the players have received qualified support from Roger Federer and unequivocal backing from Novak Djokovic.