Russia was hit with sanctions including a ban on national symbols at major sporting events in 2020, which expired in December 2022 ©Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has defended its measures taken in response to the Russian state-sponsored doping programme, after the two-time Olympic biathlon gold medallist Dmitry Vasilyev alleged "hypocrisy" in its treatment of Western nations and called for a "new composition".

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency remains non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, although sanctions against the country for its state-sponsored doping programme - reduced from four to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport - came to an end last month.

Vasilyev, a men's 4x7.5 kilometres relay gold medallist with the Soviet Union at the Sarajevo 1984 and Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, questioned WADA for perceived inaction against other countries, and called for wholesale change at the Agency, which completed a set of governance reforms including an enlarged Athlete Council and five independent members sitting on the Executive Committee.

"Here's the answer to all your questions, I don't trust anyone there," he said in an interview with Russia's state-run news agency TASS.

"We need to completely cancel WADA, form its new composition, not allowing Western representatives there."

Vasilyev had questioned the use of therapeutic use exemptions by some Norwegian skiers and biathletes, and accused them of having "invented stories about the need for these drugs in terms of a preventive measure".

He also referenced an issue at Anti-Doping Norway (ADNO) in August last year in which it had not conducted drug testing on athletes under the age of 18 for the past two years due to the interpretation of a Norwegian law requiring parental consent.

The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports and ADNO reached a "temporary solution" the following month requiring young elite athletes to have received consent from their guardians to undergo doping tests to be allowed to compete in sporting events.

"The whole world lives by one law, and the Norwegians by another, and at the same time they teach everyone," Vasilyev claimed.

Russian two-time Olympic champion Dmitry Vasilyev claimed
Russian two-time Olympic champion Dmitry Vasilyev claimed "the whole world lives by one law, and the Norwegians by another" ©Getty Images

Vasilyev also accused WADA of inaction against German doctor Mark Schmidt, who was jailed for four years and eight months in 2021 for running an international blood doping ring.

Around 40 blood bags and other items associated with doping were reportedly seized during the raids in Germany.

"Everyone was hushed up, everything is quiet, because they were probably horrified at what kind of mega-scandal it could turn into if the names of the athletes were named," Vasilyev claimed.

WADA dismissed Vasilyev's comments, and insisted it adopted a consistent stance against doping in all countries.

"In all cases, WADA follows the evidence and upholds the World Anti-Doping Code without fear or favor (sic)," a spokesperson told insidethegames.

"WADA stands by its approach to deal effectively with the institutionalized doping program that existed in Russia, as well as the related attempted cover-up and manipulation of data contained in the Moscow Laboratory. 

"WADA makes no apology for being tough on the Russian authorities for these serious breaches of the rules and would apply the same standard to any country guilty of similar offences. 

"WADA will continue to follow regulation, policy and process as it is mandated to do, in order to maintain the strength of the system while also holding to account all those who seek to break the rules."