Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2016 Contents A55
Saturday, June 18, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
VIENNA---Russia s track and field athletes will be
banned from competing for their country at the
Rio de Janeiro Olympics after a landmark decision
Friday that punished the sports powerhouse for a
systematic doping system that operated "from the
top down" and tainted the entire team.
In an unprecedented ruling loaded with geopolitical
ramifications, the IAAF upheld its ban on Russia s
track and field federation, saying the country had
made some progress in cleaning up but failed to
meet the requirements for reinstatement and would
be barred from sending its athletes to the Rio Games
Russian track and field athletes
banned from Rio Olympics
that begin in 50 days.
"Russian athletes could not credibly return to
international competition without undermining the
confidence of their competitors and the public,"
IAAF President Sebastian Coe said.
Russia immediately condemned the decision,
saying it was "deeply disappointed" and that the
Rio Games will be "diminished" by the absence of
its athletes. The Russian track federation said it was
considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration
for Sport---the sports world s highest court.
The IAAF, track s world governing body, left open
a "tiny crack" that would allow any individual Russian
athletes who have been untainted by doping and
have been subjected to effective testing outside Russia
to apply to compete in the games.
However, the IAAF said those athletes would be
few and would be eligible to compete only as "indi-
viduals"---and not under the Russian flag.
"The crack in the door is quite narrow and there
won t be many who manage to get through that
crack in the door," said Rune Andersen, the Norwegian
anti-doping expert who headed the IAAF task force
that determined that Russia s reforms were not
The IAAF said it was necessary to ban the entire
track and field team because there was no way to
verify which athletes could be considered clean.
"The system in Russia has been tainted by doping
from the top level down," Andersen said. "We cannot
trust that what people might call clean athletes are
really clean. If you have one or two or five with neg-
ative tests, it does not mean the athletes are clean.
History has shown that is not the case."
Coe dismissed suggestions there were any political
motivations behind the decision.
"There were members from all four corners of the
world, and the decision was unanimous," he said.
"Politics did not play a part today."
The ruling came four days before a sports summit
called by the IOC to address "the difficult decision
between collective responsibility and individual jus-
The IOC said it had "taken note" of the IAAF
ruling and that its executive board will meet by tele-
conference today to "discuss the appropriate next
There has been speculation the IOC could overrule
the IAAF or impose a compromise that would allow
"clean" Russian athletes to compete. However, Coe
made clear that the IAAF runs the sport and deter-
mines which athletes are eligible, not the IOC.
"I don t have a message for the IOC," said Coe,
who will attend Tuesday s meeting in Lausanne,
Switzerland. "Eligibility is a matter for the IAAF."
The suspension of the Russian federation, known
as RusAF, was imposed in November following a
report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission
that alleged state-sponsored cheating, corruption
and cover-ups. On Wednesday, WADA issued a new
report citing continuing obstruction and violations
of drug-testing in Russia.
Coe said the unanimous decision by the 25 mem-
bers of the IAAF council to maintain the ban sends
"a very clear signal to athletes and the public about
our intention to reform our sport."
The decision was hailed by many sports officials
and athletes groups outside Russia who have been
pushing the IAAF to take a hard line to restore some
credibility to the much-maligned global anti-doping
"It gives a measure of hope to clean athletes that
there are consequences not only for athletes who
dope, but for countries which do not engage seriously
in the fight against doping," U.S. Olympic Committee
CEO Scott Blackmun said. "That is a much-needed
message."The IAAF rejected a last-minute plea by
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who claimed
the country had cleaned up its anti-doping system
and met all the requirements for readmission. (AP)
speaks during a
after a meeting
of the IAAF
Council at the
Grand Hotel in
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