IOC agrees to ban Russian athletes from the Olympics

IOC agrees to ban Russian athletes from the Olympics

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to allow Russian athletes to compete in the Olympic Games individually. The statement was made by the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach who commented on the decision by the IAAF Council and confirmed the disqualification of All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).

"We have very serious concerns about Russia and Kenya and that is why every athlete from these countries should undergo individual testing. All previously made statements raise serious doubts about athletes’ presumption of innocence; therefore IAAF should make a decision in respect of Russian and Kenyan athletes to be tested individually. It was also decided to punish along with the athletes all the team members involved: coaches, doctors and officials,’’ Tass cites him as saying.

Bach noted that members of the IOC Executive Board supported the decision by the IAAF to ban Russian athletics team from participation in the Olympic Games in Rio, but gave a chanse to those athletes who are not involved in the doping scandal.

The head of the Russian Olympic Committee Aleksander Zhukov said, commenting Bach’s statement, that Russia will not boycott the Games in Rio de Janeiro. "We are not talking about boycotting the Games. Russian athletes will perform in Rio, I have no doubts about that. And I have repeatedly pointed out that the ROC fully supports a zero-tolerance doping policy,’’ he said.

"Secondly, the ROC fully shares the IOC concern to protect the rights of ‘clean’ athletes and, of course, we are in favor of maintenaning the unity of the Olympic Movement and in any case there should be no boycotts,’’ Zhukov noted.

Creative producer and presenter at Vesti FM Gia Saralidze told ‘Vestnik Kavkaza’ that the decision to ban Russian athletes from the Olympic Games is unprecedented and politicized. "Frankly speaking, I cannot remember such a politicized decision in sports. It can be compared only to the ban imposed of Yugoslavia during the European Championship and FIFA World Cups in 1992 and 1994,’’ he said, stressing that the current situation is something unimaginable.

At the same time, according to the expert, it is not the end, as it is unclear how the situation will develop. "The way it is presented at the moment is as if doping is a purely Russia problem, but this is not true. The number of athletes, who used doping in athletics, is about the same in every country,’’ he said.

"The allegations that Russia created a state doping system is a very serious charge, and it should be either proven and then Russia will be excluded from the Olympic family, or, if not proven, those who came forward with such charges should answer for their words," the creative producer at Vesti FM said.

Instead, the IAAF and Bach announced an ambivalent solution that can hardly be implemented. "There have always been laws. Those people who used illegal drugs were disqualified. Those people who do not use illegal substances has the right to take part in competitions. What should Russian athletes do now? Do they have to win a trial at the International Athletics Federation? Or should they bring their ‘clean’ tests?" the expert asked.