IAAF confirms Russian athletes ban

IAAF confirms Russian athletes ban

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Track-and-field athlete Yelena Isinbayeva reacts as she walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during his personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow Wednesday. — Reuters
Track-and-field athlete Yelena Isinbayeva reacts as she walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during his personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow Wednesday. — Reuters

PARIS — The global governing body for athletics Wednesday stood behind its ban on Russia’s track and field athletes competing at the Rio Olympics, effectively leaving all paths trodden in Moscow’s attempts to get them readmitted.

Confirmation of the ban, announced by the IAAF after Russia’s sports minister sought its revocation, was discriminatory and amounted to a political campaign waged against Russian sportspeople, President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) imposed the ban in November for systematic state-sponsored doping.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld that decision last week.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko wrote to the IAAF Monday to get the ban overturned. But there were “no grounds for further review,” the organization said Wednesday.

“The applications by 68 athletes for eligibility to compete in Rio were assessed carefully and on an individual basis by the IAAF Doping Review Board,” the IAAF said in a statement.

“Only (long jumper Darya Klishina) …was found to meet the criteria for exceptional eligibility. CAS considered the appeals of the (other) 67 athletes fully and rejected them.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected calls to impose a blanket ban on Russians competing at the Rio Games after the independent McLaren report found evidence of state-sponsored doping in the Sochi Olympics.

Russian fencers are cleared to compete at Rio after the sport’s governing body found no grounds to exclude any of the team for doping.

The International Fencing Federation announcement was positive news for Russia, which has seen at least 105 athletes from its 387-strong Olympic team banned so far over the country’s doping scandal.

The IFF says 197 tests taken from Russian athletes in 35 countries over the last two years were all negative.

Sixteen Russian fencers have qualified for the Rio Games and there are four reserves.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian track and field athletes are victims of “discrimination” that the country is “not going to put up with.”

Putin was addressing athletes at the Kremlin before the Russian Olympic team was due to fly out to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics Thursday, while dozens of the track and field athletes who are not eligible to compete in the Rio Games also attended.

Those barred from competing, Putin says, are victims of “double standards” and a campaign against Russian sports.

Two-time Olympic champion pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and European hurdles champion Sergei Shubenkov were among those in attendance not eligible for Rio.

Continuing his address, Putin told his audience “your colleagues from other sports powers realize that the value of their medals will be different,” because “this victory will have a different taste — or no taste at all.”

Isinbayeva makes emotional address to athletes

Fighting back tears, two-time Olympic champion pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva told Russian athletes going to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics to defend the country’s honor.

Isinbayeva spoke at a Russian Olympic team send-off ceremony at the Kremlin Wednesday. She said that she and other athletes were banned from going to Rio “in a rude manner and without giving us a chance to defend ourselves.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport last week rejected the appeal by Russian track and field athletes against the ban imposed by the IAAF following allegations of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.

She told those going to Rio to “show them what you’re able to do — for yourself and for us too.”

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