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Kremlin slams blanket ban of Russian field and track athletes from Rio Olympics

July 21, 12:43 UTC+3
Earlier in the day CAS ruled against the appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 national athletes thus closing the doors for Russian field and track athletes to the Olympics in Brazil
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A mannequin dressed in a Russian Olympics National team uniform

A mannequin dressed in a Russian Olympics National team uniform

© AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

July 21. /TASS/. The Kremlin considers the blanket ban of Russian field and track athletes from the Olympics in Rio inadmissible, Vladimir Putin's press secretary said Thursday. 

Earlier in the day CAS turned down the appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 national athletes against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), thus closing the doors for Russian field and track athletes to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

"We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable," Peskov told journalists. "We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies."

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled that "British experts were the ones to collect them [doping samples] recently."

"Therefore, we can only express our deep regret, but we and the relevant bodies will now have to swiftly analyze the situation," Peskov said.

According to the official, Moscow’s position on impossibility of boycotting 2016 Summer Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro has not changed after the verdict made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We have already answered this question. I don’t think I need to repeat myself," Peskov said.

Peskov reminded about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that boycotting Olympics is "an absolute mistake." However, the Kremlin spokesman added, boycotts of the Olympic Games have happened several times.

No chances left for Russian field and track athletes for 2016 Olympics

Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the All-Russia Atheltics Federation (ARAF), told TASS that Russian field and track athletes lost all chances of participating in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games after today’s ruling.

"I think there are no chances," Shlyakhtin told TASS.

There's hope

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva believes the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is Russian athletes’ last hope to participate in the Summer Olympics in Rio.

"IOC is entitled to make their own decision," Isinbayeva told TASS. "They said it again - looks like rejection, but IOC can decide something on separate athletes. I should say it once again - the final decision will be announced by IOC President Tomas Bach," she added.

 The renowned athlete has also called the verdict on Russian athletes the funeral of track and field sports.

"Thank you everyone for the funeral of track and field athletics. This is a purely political order. All arguments are aimed against ARAF [All-Russia Athletics Federation] and there is nothing concrete against athletes," Isinbayeva told TASS.

"This is not sports but politics," she added. "But we are athletes without any political skills. Let them rejoice."

Biased and politicized riuling

Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko believes the CAS verdict is politicized and has no legal grounds.

"I can express nothing but regret. We will now consider our further steps. I think this decision is biased and somewhat politicized and has no legal grounds," Mutko told TASS.

"The verdict of CAS is unprecedented, and it humiliates sports. IAAF is riddled with corruption, it is not clear why no investigative actions are undertaken in this matter. At least (IAAF) Ethics Board and IOC (International Olympic Committee) should investigate such things," Mutko said.

WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, released a report on Monday on the results of its probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

The commission claimed it had found evidence that Russia’s Sports Ministry and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service (FSB) supported the doping program in Russian sports.

Following the report WADA recommended the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all international sports federations to ban Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.

Russian President Putin announced on Monday evening that all Russian officials mentioned in the WADA commission’s report would be temporary suspended from their posts until the investigation was over.

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