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Putin hopes for due reaction from IOC to unfair suspension of clean Russian athletes

June 18, 2:20 UTC+3
Putin has pledged that Russia will continue its anti-doping efforts, despite the IAAF decision to keep in force suspension of Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Brazil
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ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin called unjust the decision on actual suspension of all Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and said he hopes for a proper reaction on the part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"Of course it is unjust," Putin said at a meeting with the chief executives of the world’s leading news agencies organized by TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum while commenting on the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

He said responsibility for the use of doping should be personified, whereas the punishment of all Russian athletes "does not fit into any frames of civilized behavior."

"If a member of your family committed an offense, is it just to bring to account all family members, including you personally? It’s not done like that anywhere," Putin said.

He underscored that people having nothing to do with violations should not "suffer for others."

"We are indignant ourselves when we face doping problems and we try to stop it ourselves, punish those guilty. But ‘clean’ athletes - why should they suffer?" Putin said.

"I hope we will find some decision here as well. I hope we will talk to our colleagues in the anti-doping structure (WADA) as well and hope for a proper reaction on the part of the International Olympic Committee," Putin said.

He underscored that the situation with the IAAF decision "does not mean we are going to get offended and say we won’t fight doping either."

"On the contrary, we will boost our fight against doping," the Russian president said, recalling that Russia’s law enforcement bodies have already taken all press reports on the issue for a check.

Commenting on IAAF decisions, Putin also recalled that doping tests were held for Russian athletes by foreign specialists who studied the samples in foreign laboratories.

The Russian president also noted the situation with meldonium, stressing that the substance does not give advantage at competitions and "has never been considered doping".

"It is well known that meldonium was invented on the territory of the former Soviet Union and is nearly exclusively used by athletes from Eastern European countries. Everyone knew about that well. But they singled out that drug," Putin said, adding that no one has held tests how fast meldonium leaves the human organism and calling the decisions to ban meldonium "hasty".

Putin vows Russia will continue its anti-doping efforts

Putin has pledged that Russia will continue its anti-doping efforts, despite the International Association of Athletics Federations decision to keep in force suspension of Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I hope we will find a solution on that matter. But it does not mean that we are going to take offence and say we will stop fighting against doping use at all," he said.

"Just the other way round, we will enhance our anti-doping efforts," he stressed adding that Russia’s law enforcement agencies have already kicked off probes into all media reports on that matter.

The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) confirmed on Friday earlier media reports that the Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided at its session earlier in the day to keep in force Russian membership’s suspension.

British daily The Guardian reported earlier on Friday that the decision was made due to Russia’s failure to implement the previously set requirements of the IAAF.

In light of numerous doping scandals, which hit the Russian sports in recent years, the IAAF temporarily suspended late last year the membership of ARAF in the organization.

The suspension means that Russian field and track athletes are currently ineligible to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. The IAAF’s Council gathered in Austria’s Vienna on Friday to make a decision on the restoration of ARAF’s membership.

Friday’s decision means that Russia’s track and field athletes still have no rights to travel for 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Following the ARAF’s suspension last November, the IAAF set up its Taskforce group with the aim of overseeing the implementation of reforms in the ARAF, necessary for the restoration of Russia’s membership in the global organization.

The Taskforce is headed by its Independent Chair Rune Andersen alongside IAAF Council’s members - Abby Hoffman, the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Strategic Policy Branch at Health Canada, Anna Riccardi, a Technical Delegate for the Rio Olympic Games and Italy’s National Olympic Committee’s Head of Team Services Sport and Olympic Programme Area, Frank Fredericks from Namibia, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Chairman of the IAAF Athletes’ Commission, and Geoff Gardner, the president of the Oceania Athletics Association (Norfolk Island).

However, the IOC, at its meeting June 21, is entitled to allow Russian athletes to take part in the Rio Olympics.

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