Russia will most likely not attend the Tokyo Olympics after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that it had evidence that the country had tampered with data submitted to international regulators, potentially inflicting even more damage to the reputation of Russian athletics.

Now, WADA will meet on December 9 to decide whether any Russian athletes can be allowed to progress to the Tokyo Games. The danger that lies ahead is whether Russia is compliant and in the most likely event it isn’t, WADA will give an official go-ahead to expel Russia from the competition.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, said he would rather advise to seek a middle-ground with the Russian Federation instead of slapping the country with a complete ban.

However, Mr. Bach won’t be able to negotiate in this case, as WADA will rule independently of IOC, and IOC will then need to comply with whatever decision the former reaches.

No More ‘Olympic Athlete’ Status for Russia

Russia has been beleaguered in multiple cases of abuse of drugs, deliberately asking athletes to take performance-enhancing substances. During the last Winter Games, an exception was made so that ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ status was granted to 168 Russian participants.

However, a similar arrangement may now be completely off the table pending WADA’s decision on the matter. President Sebastian Coe of the World Athletics Federation – IAAF – urged the matter to be pursued fairly, but also added that renegade factions must not be tolerated at all.

Reformists in Russia

RUSADA, the Russia regulator dealing with matters of suspected drug abuse, has also had its champion, Yuri Ganus, who is also head of the organization, call for a clean-up so that Russian athletes may compete at international events once again.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, head of the track and field federation in Russia handed in his resignation on Saturday. Despite Russia’s attempts to clean up its sports organizations, no convincing efforts have been made.

Not only have Russian athletes cheated once – they have done so repeatedly, posing a threat to the fairness of the contest. Nevertheless, WADA isn’t jumping to conclusions and the committee meeting on December 7 will give an opportunity to discuss possible solutions.

Previously, WADA re-admitted RUSADA on the condition that it would receive data from the regulator, but upon examination, WADA claimed that Russia had tampered with the data – which started the present predicament.

The goal of the Olympic Games is to bring nations together and an absent Russia would definitely be a loss.

However, as things stand, WADA is reluctant to take a milder stance against Russia, which has been given one too many chances to repent.

More news on December 7 when the meeting takes place.