The head of Russia's rebuilt anti-doping agency pleaded with President Vladimir Putin for support as the country moves closer to a possible ban from next year's Olympics.
Yuri Ganus worked the halls of an international anti-doping conference that was headlined Tuesday by a speech from Polish President Andrzej Duda, who spoke out strongly about the need for clean sports.
That led Ganus, who has been an outspoken critic of the Russian government and its role in the doping crisis, to ask Putin for help.
"We are waiting for support from the president because you have seen during this conference how the Polish president supports his anti-doping movement, and his sports movement," Ganus said. "And we need the same kind" of support.
Last month, Putin said it was time to move on from the crisis, and that Russia is cooperating with the World Anti-Doping Agency. WADA is investigating why data from the Moscow testing laboratory was manipulated. WADA negotiated to receive the data so it could pursue cases stemming from the country's elaborate cheating scheme at the Sochi Olympics and other major events.
WADA is awaiting answers to follow-up questions regarding the data, and it has set a tentative date of Dec. 7 to determine whether Ganus' agency should be suspended again.
That could bring with it the possibility of Russians being left out of the Tokyo Olympics — a result that would be, in Ganus' words, a "tragedy."
"I think one of the main tasks now is that we have to change the bad-excuse approach," he said. "We have to change the people who realized this approach because now Russian sport is in the fifth year of the doping crisis. It's impossible, because we will lose our current and future generation of athletes."