Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2016 Contents A47
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Tuesday August 2nd, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO---IOC President Thomas
Bach lashed out yesterday against those
calling for the "nuclear option " --- a com-
plete ban on Russian athletes from the Rio
de Janeiro Games --- as he and other mem-
bers blamed global anti-doping officials for
a scandal that has rattled the Olympic
Bach opened the International Olympic
Committee s three-day general assembly by
seeking formal backing of the members for
the executive board s handling of the Russian
doping scandal. After a debate lasting more than two
hours, Bach asked for a show of hands, and only one
of the 85 members --- Britain s Adam Pengilly ---voted
against his position.
Despite evidence of a state-run doping program in
Russia, the IOC board rejected calls for a total ban
and left it to international sports federations to decide
on the entry of individual Russian athletes for the
games, which open on Friday.
Bach again blamed the World Anti-Doping Agency
for failing to act sooner on evidence of state-backed
doping in Russia and releasing its findings so close to
the start of the games. He said it would be wrong to
make individual Russian athletes "collateral damage"
for the wrongdoing of their government.
"Leaving aside that such a comparison is completely
out of any proportion when it comes to the rules of
sport, let us just for a moment consider the conse-
quences of a nuclear option, " Bach said. "The result
is death and devastation. This is not what the Olympic
Movement stands for. The cynical collateral damage
approach is not what the Olympic movement stands
"What is therefore not acceptable is the insinuation
by some proponents of this nuclear option that
anyone who does not share their opinion is not fighting
against doping," he added.
The IOC has been roundly criticized by many anti-
doping bodies, athletes groups and Western media
for not apply a complete ban on the Russian team.
Pressure for a full ban grew after WADA investigator
Richard McLaren issued a report accusing Russia s
sports ministry of orchestrating a vast doping conspiracy
involving athletes across more than two dozen summer
and winter Olympic sports.
"Natural justice does not allow us to deprive a
human being of the right to prove their innocence,"
Underlying the deep split between Olympic leaders
and anti-doping officials, Bach said it was WADA ---
not the IOC --- that was responsible for the doping
"It is not the IOC that is responsible for the accred-
itation and supervision of anti-doping laboratories,"
he said. "The IOC has no authority over the testing
program of athletes outside the Olympic Games. The
IOC has no authority to follow up on information
about the failings of the testing system."
Israeli member Alex Gilady echoed that view.
"I think it s not the reputation of the IOC that has
to be restored, it s the reputation of WADA," he said.
Argentine member Gerardo Werthein also laid into
WADA, saying "the failure to investigate serious and
credible allegations more swiftly has left the sports
movement ... in a very difficult position facing incredibly
difficult decisions in an impossible timeframe."
"At times WADA has seemed to be more interested
in publicity and self-promotion rather than doing its
job as a regulator," Werthein said.
WADA President Craig Reedie of Britain, who is
also an IOC vice president, spoke only at the end of
debate to say that he would respond Wednesday in
his report about his agency s activities.
Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander
Zhukov claimed there was a political campaign against
Russia and cited "discrimination" against clean athletes
not connected to doping.
"I urge you to resist this unprecedented pressure
that is now on the entire Olympic movement and not
to let this pressure to split the entire Olympic family,"
Zhukov also took a swipe at WADA.
"Why should WADA not be responsible for the vio-
lations made by the anti-doping labs it has accredited?"
he said. US member Larry Probst said it was wrong
to attribute the problem to "international politics."
"We have a doping problem," the US Olympic Com-
mittee chairman said. "And it s not just Russia, it s
global. The current system is broken and we need to
fix the problem."
IOC reject 'nuclear option',
bash anti-doping agency
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, second left, and President of
the Rio 2016 Olympic Organizing Committee Carlos Arthur Nuzman, left, applaud during
the opening ceremony of the 129th International Olympic Committee session, in Rio de
Janeiro, on Monday. AP
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