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Russian minister calls on IAAS president to allow clean Russian athletes compete at Rio

July 25, 19:35 UTC+3
Russian sports minister has called on IAAF President to allow clean Russian athletes, including Yelena Isinbayeva, Sergei Shubenkov and Maria Kuchina, to compete at the upcoming Olympic Games
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Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko

Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko

© Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko has called on President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe to allow clean Russian track and field athletes, including Yelena Isinbayeva, Sergei Shubenkov and Maria Kuchina, to compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio.

On July 21, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (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.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld the IAAF decision.

"I would like to once again ask you, not only as a leader responsible for the development of this sports discipline but also as a former athlete, to protect clean Russian track and field athletes and give a possibility to take part in the Rio Olympics to those athletes who completely meet the requirements set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)," Mutko said in a letter to Coe on Monday.

"I don’t think it is right that due to the doping problem sanctions have been imposed on all athletes, including such a star as Isinbayeva who has an immaculate reputation confirmed in a great number of doping tests conducted by various anti-doping organizations or young athletes of the new generation Kuchina and Shubenkov. And there are much more of such athletes who have spent years of their lives training in good faith for the Olympic Games in Rio," Mutko wrote.

Along with that, the Russian sports minister thanked the IAAF commission for at least three additional doping tests for Russian track and field athletes. He stressed that "responsibility should be based on individual approach and all honest athletes should not be held responsible for violations of others."

Mutko’s letter also points to the current management crisis in the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) and the Soviet-era heritage in views on doping. "I absolutely agree that all the decisions stem from the profound management crisis in the All-Russia Athletics Federation and the entrenched problem of doping rooted in the Soviet-era period," he said.

He once again reiterated that the Russian government’s position on the doping problem stays unchanged - zero tolerance to the use of banned substances by athletes. He announced plans to cardinally reform Russia’s anti-doping system. "Along with WADA, we are ready to completely overhaul our anti-doping services, to create such a system that would exclude any possibility, even theoretically, for officers of any level to violate WADA standards," Mutko underscored and guaranteed "complete openness and commitment to the anti-doping principles."

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