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Following WADA leaks, Putin suggests athletes with TUEs compete in a ‘special category’

Kremlin.ru [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, a group of hackers known as ‘Fancy Bear’ began leaking confidential World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) documents that listed the medical history of athletes who competed at the Rio Games in 2016. Athletes such as the Williams sisters, Simone Biles and Rafael Nadal were all revealed to have therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for banned substances.

While the substances were taken with WADA approval, many athletes later revealed that their TUEs were assigned for medical conditions and did not give them a competitive advantage.

However, during a sports forum in Russia this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that athletes with TUEs should be placed in a special category or removed from major competition.

“We need to understand what to do about (TUEs), otherwise we could soon face all records and victories going only to people who are ill with, let’s say, chronic illnesses,” Putin said at an international sports forum tiled: “Russia – Country of Sports” held in the Vladimir Region. (h/t Associated Press). “Maybe they can be put in a special category, or their achievements, points, seconds and honors can be considered in a special way.”

The Fancy Bear group accessed the medical documents by hacking the official website of WADA and Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Their website also explains their mission statement.

“Greetings citizens of the world. We are Fancy Bears. We go on exposing the athletes who violate the principles of fair play by taking doping substances. The list of doping addicts includes not only the athletes of the top Olympic teams but also those who compete for other countries. We’ll keep on telling the world about doping in elite sports. Stay tuned for new leaks.”

Putin didn’t address the allegations about the Fancy bear hacks being of Russian origin, though he did offer his reason for the ongoing anti-doping tension.

“Politics today, as we can see, interferes in sports.”

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