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Olympics 2024: Wada has “deep-rooted” problems, says Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, says the World Anti-Doping Agency cannot be trusted to enforce its guidelines.

The 38-year-old, who won 28 medals in swimming at five Games, criticized the organization after China’s swimming team involved in doping scandal for the Summer Olympics in Paris.

Wada confirmed in April that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine – a banned drug found in heart medications – before competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But WADA accepted the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency’s finding that the swimmers had been inadvertently exposed to the drug through contamination and gave them permission to compete in Paris.

“It is clear to me that all attempts to reform WADA have failed and that there are still deep-rooted systemic problems that continue to prove detrimental to the integrity of international sport and the right of athletes to compete fairly,” Phelps said.

“As athletes, we can no longer place blind trust in the World Anti-Doping Agency, an organization that has proven time and again that it is either unable or unwilling to consistently enforce its policies worldwide.”

The American spoke at a congressional hearing to examine anti-doping measures ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games, at which WADA did not comment.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), advised the Commission to reconsider its funding of WADA, which amounts to £2.9 million a year.

In response, WADA President Witold Banka criticized USADA for “politicizing” the case.

“The hearing aimed to further politicize a relatively simple case of mass contamination that was turned into a scandal by a small number of people, mainly in the United States,” Banka said.

“It was another example of how the World Anti-Doping Agency was drawn into a much larger struggle between two superpowers. As an independent and largely technical organization, WADA has no mandate to participate in these political debates.”

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