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World’s gymnastics body concerned over possible blanket ban of Russians at 2016 Rio

July 18, 14:40 UTC+3 GENEVA
Later on Monday, the WADA Independent Commission is to release a report on alleged anti-doping violations presumably supervised at a government level at the Olympics in Sochi
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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

GENEVA, July 18. /TASS/. The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) voiced its concern on Monday regarding a possible blanket ban for Russian athletes from their participation in the 2014 Summer Olympic Games next month.

"The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is concerned about the increasing number of officials asking for a blanket ban of Russian athletes to participate at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio," FIG said in its statement.

"Whilst FIG fully supports the IOC's policy of "Zero Tolerance in Doping", it strongly feels that not all Russian athletes of all sports should be banned and found guilty for actions in other sports and federations," the statement said.

"Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline athletes cannot be judged based on other sports," according to FIG. "Before any actions are taken against FIG's athletes, facts must be presented and doping offenses must be proven."

"FIG's Russian gymnasts have been subject to controls equal to those of our other leading gymnastics federations. Clean Russian gymnasts must therefore be allowed to compete at the Games," the statement added.

Later on Monday, the WADA Independent Commission chaired by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren is scheduled to release a report on alleged anti-doping violations, presumably supervised at a government level, by the hosting country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The report will be crucial for the whole Russian national Olympic squad, which is currently in full preparations for the 2016 Olympics, due to kick off in August. President of the European Olympic Committee (EOC) Patrick Hickey, as well as some foreign media sources, announced last week that a letter calling to introduce a blanket ban for Russian athletes had been sent to a number of sports organizations and federations as well as sports officials.

Commenting on the situation at the issue, FIG President Bruno Grandi said: "The rights of every individual athlete must be respected."

"Participation at the Olympic Games is the highest goal of athletes who often sacrifice their entire youth to this aim," Grandi said. "The right to participate at the Games cannot be stolen from an athlete, who has duly qualified and has not be found guilty of doping."

"Blanket bans have never been and will never be just," FIG president added.

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