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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Russian Olympic Track and Field

Russian Olympic Track and Field

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1 Russian Olympic Track and Field on Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:42 pm


Huge call. Puts not only drug cheats but also officials on serious notice.

"One day after an unprecedented ruling that barred Russia’s track and field team from the Summer Olympics, Olympic officials said Saturday that they agreed with it, ending any hope the team had of gaining entry into the Rio Games.

On Friday, global track and field officials voted unanimously to keep Russian track athletes from competing at the Summer Olympics because of a far-reaching doping conspiracy.

Russian sports officials called the decision unjust and appealed to the International Olympic Committee, the ultimate authority over the Games, to “not only consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on their dreams and the people of Russia but also that the Olympics themselves will be diminished by their absence.”

But on Saturday, after Olympic officials convened by phone to assess the decision, the I.O.C. said it “welcomes and supports” the ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for track and field, and commended the I.A.A.F.’s “strong stance against doping.”

“The eligibility of athletes in any international competition, including the Olympic Games, is a matter for the respective international federation,” the I.O.C. said, respecting the I.A.A.F.’s sovereignty over its sport.

Olympic officials plan to convene on Tuesday in Lausanne, Switzerland, the home of the I.O.C., to discuss more broadly who will be eligible to compete at the Rio Games, which begin on Aug. 5.

Yuliya Rusanova, a former runner for Russia and a whistle-blower who fled the country and now lives in the United States, has petitioned to compete in Rio for a neutral team. On Friday, the I.A.A.F. — noting that Russian athletes who had lived outside Russia and been subject to rigorous drug testing could be allowed to compete — recommended that the I.O.C. look upon her case favorably.

Allegations of a government-run doping program in Russia have extended well beyond track and field. Athletes outside Russia have agitated for investigations into the extent of the country’s doping, emphasizing that time is of the essence as the Games approach.

The I.O.C. said Tuesday’s summit would scrutinize countries whose national antidoping programs had been disciplined by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the global regulator for doping in Olympic sports, which itself has come under scrutiny over its handling of allegations of corruption.

After WADA published a report in the fall accusing Russia of state-sponsored doping, the agency decertified Russia’s antidoping program and issued a flurry of other disciplinary decisions, affecting countries including Kenya, Mexico and Spain.

For a country to be declared noncompliant by WADA in itself means little, but depriving a nation’s antidoping operation of WADA’s endorsement is a powerful signal to the I.O.C. and sports federations that can control a country’s participation in global competition.

“The I.O.C. will initiate further far-reaching measures,” the organization said Saturday, “in order to ensure a level playing field for all the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games.” "

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