MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules out a possibility of Russian national athletic teams skipping the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil over a recent chain of doping scandals, Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), told TASS on Wednesday.
Asked whether the IOC had been considering an option to ban Russia’s national athletes from the Summer Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, Zhukov said: "No."
"We share a common stance with [IOC President] Thomas Bach that all clean athletes must be taking part in the Games," Zhukov, who is also a member of the IOC, said in an interview with TASS.
The official also stressed that the Russian Olympic Committee would protect the rights of national athletes suspected of doping abuse.
"This is our main task [to protect athletes]," he said. "We are working on it. Our other goal is to provide for the participation of our ‘clean athletes’ [at the 2016 Olympics]."
According to Zhukov, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) hopes that national athletes clean of doping-related charges will be allowed to travel this year to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.
"We hope that our ‘clean’ field and track athletes will be able to travel," he said. "We are working on it."
Following a series of high-profile doping scandals involving the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) last year, the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) suspended the Russian federation’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward six criteria, which ARAF must implement to restore its membership.
Experts say it is highly possible that Russian national athletics teams will be suspended from the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil this year following the findings from the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Two weeks ago Russian sports was hit by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for banned substance meldonium.
Officially named the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, or commonly referred to as Rio 2016, will be held in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro between August 5 and 21.