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IOC Summit Upholds IAAF Ban for Russian Athletics Team

  • VOA News

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach gives a news conference after the Olympic summit on doping in Lausanne, Switzerland, June 21, 2016. Bach said there "serious doubts" that athletes coming from non-compliant countries such as Russ

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach gives a news conference after the Olympic summit on doping in Lausanne, Switzerland, June 21, 2016. Bach said there "serious doubts" that athletes coming from non-compliant countries such as Russ

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) special summit in Lausanne Tuesday upheld the ban on the Russian athletics federation, but kept the option open for some Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics as members of Russia's Olympic Committee.

Speaking after the summit, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the sports leaders had "serious doubts" that athletes coming from non-compliant countries such as Russia and Kenya were clean. But Bach did rule out any blanket ban for Russia's Olympic Committee.

He said there are "serious allegations about manipulations" in Kenyan sport. Bach said the African country faced the same challenge as Russia "to ensure the same level playing field for athletes" in Rio.

Bach emphasized with regard to Russia competing in Rio that all its athletes going there are part of the Russian Olympic Committee.

"If there are athletes qualified, then they will compete as members of the team of the Russian Olympic Committee because only a national Olympic committee can enter athletes to the Olympic Games. There are no teams of international federations there. Contrary to the national federation of track and field, the Russian Olympic Committee is not suspended."

Bach said that athletes and/or the Russian Olympic Committee may appeal the decision on the athletics team in court. And Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov issued a statement confirming that "clean" athletes would appeal the IAAF ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FILE - Athletes train at the Brothers Znamensky Olympic Center in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 10, 2015. Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov issued a statement confirming that "clean" athletes would appeal the IAAF ban.

FILE - Athletes train at the Brothers Znamensky Olympic Center in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 10, 2015. Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov issued a statement confirming that "clean" athletes would appeal the IAAF ban.

No boycott but suit considered

Zhukov also said his country "will not boycott the Olympics," in comments carried by state news agency Tass, but added that the national Olympic committee will consider a lawsuit against track and field's world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The original decision banning Russian track and field athletes from Rio was made last Friday by the IAAF, which had already banned them from international competition last November for systematic doping.

The IAAF said Russia has not done enough to restore international confidence in its athletes. The Russian Ministry of Sport expressed its objection to the decision, saying that "clean athletes" dreams were being destroyed because of the reprehensible behavior of other athletes and officials.

The 20 delegates at Tuesday's emergency summit - drawn from the IOC, leading sports federations, National Olympic Committees and the World Anti-Doping Agency - decided the IOC will take "further far-reaching measures to ensure a level playing field" for all athletes taking part in the Rio Olympics. And at the next Olympic summit on October 8 there will be discussions and likely new proposals, as the IOC advances its plans to create an anti-doping testing system independent from sports organizations.

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