Wow: Russian track and field team banned from Rio Olympics over doping

Wow: Russian track and field team banned from Rio Olympics over doping
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[Ed. – First time such a punishment has been imposed; harshness due to 2015 finding that doping was state-sponsored.]

There will be no track and field athletes competing under the Russian flag at the Rio Olympics after the world athletics governing body ruled they had not met readmission criteria imposed when they suspended over widespread state sponsored doping in November last year.

The unprecedented step was taken by the International Association of Athletics Federations because an expert task force ruled that Russia had not taken sufficient steps to overhaul its testing procedures and prove its athletes were clean. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, described the decision as “unjust and unfair”.

Although good progress has been made the IAAF Council was unanimous that Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public,” said Lord Coe, the IAAF president who has himself been under pressure over what he knew and when about the Russian doping crisis. …

But the IAAF said that, on the advice of outside lawyers, it had left open a “crack in the door” for Russian athletes who could prove they had been training outside the country to compete under a neutral banner, including whistleblower Yulia Stepanov.

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