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PUTIN CLAIMS A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN WAGED AGAINST RUSSIAN SPORTS PEOPLE


PhilBoxing.com




Russian president Vladimir Putin has claimed that the exclusion of track and field athletes from the Rio Olympic Games over allegations of doping was ?discrimination? and that a political campaign has been waged against Russian sportspeople.

Putin made the claims in an address to the Russian Olympic team in the Kremlin.

He said the absence of some Russian sportspeople from the Rio Olympic Games would damage international sport as well as the Olympics.

Putin added, ?the other sportsmen understand that the quality of their medals will be different? and added that the 2016 Rio Games would be ?less of a spectacle.?

In an article by Hannah Berkman, the Moscow Times reported that Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was heavily implicated in WADA?s most recent report on state-sponsored doping in the country, called the IOC ruling ?objective.?

He told the Lenta news website ?I'm grateful for such a decision? which left the decision on whether to ban Russian athletes in different sports to their international federations.

The Sports Minister expressed his ?absolute certainty? that the majority of the Russian team would be able to fulfill the ?very tough? inclusion criteria set by the IOC.

At the same time the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) announced that they were creating an ?independent commission on doping? as recommended by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. ROC honorary president Vitaly Smirnov, who is set to chair the new committee, told Russian publication Sports Express Monday that the IOC would have ?faced many problems? if they had decided to ban Russia from Rio.

Smirnov, who held the post of Soviet Sports Minister in the 1980s, named several Russian IOC members, former athletes, business tycoons and government officials as the commission?s new members, Sports.ru reported. The general director of the state-owned Channel One, Konstantin Ernst, would also sit on the committee.

Two-time Olympic champion pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva, wrote on social media Sunday night that she was ?saddened to tears? by her own feelings of powerlessness. ?No one defended my rights,? she wrote.

Isinbayeva also supported the IOC?s decision to ban Russian Olympic runner and doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova from the competition. Stepanova, who had hoped to compete as an neutral athlete, will no longer be eligible to compete due to past doping offenses.

Isinbayeva said ?She [Stepanova] should not be branded a hero.?

Meamtime, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has cleared all Russian divers and synchronized swimmers for competition at Rio, the governmental news agency TASS reported Sunday. FINA President Julio Maglione said earlier this month that the resignation of Russian Sports Minister Mutko would be ?terrible.?

FINA will decide on the fate of Yuliya Yefimova, a competitive swimmer who was previously stripped of her medals and disqualified for two years after a doping scandal, on Monday.

The Russian track-and-field team, with the exception of Daria Klishina who trains in the U.S., will not compete, following the IOC?s backing of a decision made by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in July.

The Moscow Times reported that the Russian weightlifting team could also be banned from attending. The International Weightlifting Federation?s (IWF) recently decided to ban teams that have had three or more athletes implicated in doping scandals. The IWF is expected to release their decision on the Russian team soon, after three Russian athletes were found to be taking performance-enhancing drugs.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that it plans to decide on each athlete's? fate individually.
Three of its Russian cyclists have receiving doping convictions in the past year. However, Russia's judo, tennis, wrestling and rowing teams are also likely to compete.

Photo: Russian president Valdimir Putin with Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.


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