Athletics’ Chiefs Uphold Russian Ban For Rio

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Rio De Janeiro: Russian track and field athletes are set to miss the Rio Olympics after the sport’s governing body decided unanimously to keep a ban in place ahead of the Games.

The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) provisionally suspended the country’s sportsmen and women from competition in November.

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It came after a WADA report claimed there was a state-sponsored doping programme and corruption by sports officials.

IAAF officials met in Vienna to vote on whether to readmit Russia – but it is believed the country has not fulfilled a set of criteria, including reforming its anti-doping agency.

Sky’s sports correspondent Paul Kelso said the world governing body and the agency had to be able to carry out testing on Russian athletes without interference.

But a new report by WADA (the world anti-doping agency) claimed officials have been threatened with deportation by armed members of the FSB (formerly the KGB), he added.

The report claimed hundreds of attempts to carry out drug tests on Russian athletes between February and May this year had been thwarted.

And drug testers faced intimidation and threats from armed Russian security forces while athletes continued to evade doping control officers.

In its attempt to overturn the ban in time for its athletes to compete in Brazil this summer, Russia has announced a raft of reforms including the introduction of compulsory anti-doping classes in schools.

Speaking in St Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin insisted there was no state-sponsored doping in Russia.

He said: “There isn’t and cannot be any support on the government level of violations in sport, especially on the question of doping.”

And Mr Putin hit out at possibility that clean Russian athletes could miss the Olympics over their teammates’ use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“There cannot be collective responsibility of all athletes,” Mr Putin said.

“The whole team cannot bear responsibility for one who committed a violation” of anti-doping regulations.

Sky News

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