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Bach: IAAF to make individual decisions on participation of Russian athletes in Olympics

June 21, 15:18 UTC+3
Thomas Bach said that the Russian Olympic Committee had fulfilled all the demands of the IAAF, and stressed that the IAAF should make individual decisions on admitting Russian athletes to the Olympics
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Thomas Bach

Thomas Bach

© EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

LAUSANNE /Switzerland/, June 21. /TASS/. Russian athletes, including track and fielders, will be evaluated individually for their eligibility to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and they will be allowed to compete under their national flag, Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), announced on Tuesday.

Addressing a news conference after the IOC summit in Switzerland’s Lausanne on Tuesday afternoon, Bach said the organization’s members unanimously passed a declaration, which in particular expressed "respect, approval and support" for the decision made last week by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) regarding the extended suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation.

"We need to harmonize and strengthen efforts to protect clean athletes," Bach said opening the news conference. "We have to join forces with all the stakeholders of the Olympic movement to address this difficult situation just before the Olympic Games in Rio 2016."

"The summit confirmed the respect, approval and support for the decision having been taken by the IAAF last Friday," he said.

"At the same time the summit…, after having studied and being informed about the [IAAF] Task Force report, noted also that in this report the Russian Olympic Committee is mentioned in a very positive way for their work," Bach said.

The IAAF announced earlier that in case it found Russian track and field athletes eligible for competing at the 2016 Rio they would have to be taking part in the Games under a neutral flag instead of their national flag.

Bach, however, said that all Russian athletes, who will enter the Olympic competition in Brazil, will be allowed to participate under the national flag since they are representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), which is a full-fledged member of the IOC.

"When it comes to the Olympic Games, all athletes then are part of the team of the Russian Olympic Committee," the IOC president said.

The IOC chief said the IAAF has already "set the guidelines" of its work and decisions regarding individual Russian field and track athletes would be announced in the nearest future.

"With regard to participation of track and field athletes from Russia - we still have to wait," he said. "The individual decisions are still coming from IAAF. We will respect the decisions they are taking as a consequence with regard of the qualified athletes."

Last Friday at its session in Vienna, the IAAF decided to keep in force the suspension of the ARAF’s membership in the global athletics body. The suspension implied that Russian field and track athletes were ineligible to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

"All participants [in the summit] agreed that they will undertake all efforts to keep dopers away from Rio 2016," Bach said

Speaking about the non-compliance reports from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and numerous "substantial allegations" in regard to the anti-doping systems in Russia and Kenya, IOC president said the summit participants concluded that "they put very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence for athletes coming from these countries."

"Therefore, each athlete coming from these two countries will have to be declared eligible by the respective international federation following individual procedure and individual evaluation of the situation," Bach said. "The respective international federations are the only ones who can declare an athlete technically eligible in the Games."

Bach also said that the participants of the IOC summit also expressed concerns over the current work of WADA noting the existing deficiencies in the global anti-doping system.

"Finally, the summit has also recognized that the anti-doping system has some deficiencies, that we have to make responsibilities clearer, that it has to be more transparent and everybody has to understand better who is doing what and who is responsible for what," Bach said.

The whole anti-doping system "needs full review," Bach said, "therefore the summit has called on WADA to convene an extraordinary world conference on doping for the year 2017, where in an open and transparent way these issues can be addressed."

Asked at the end of the news conference about his alleged meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the summit, IOC chief Bach denied it saying that he could "only smile" to all allegations on the so-called secret meeting with Putin, with whom he allegedly discussed participation of the Russian field and track athletes at the 2016 Olympics.

 

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