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Russian taekwondo fighters ought to be cleared for 2016 Rio Olympics — federation’s chief

July 27, 15:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A total of three Russian taekwondo fighters, namely Alexei Denisenko, Albert Gaun and Anastasia Baryshnikova, were selected to represent their country at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
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© Egor Aleev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. All Russian national team’s taekwondo fighters selected for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil should be allowed to compete at the Games, Vadim Ivanov, the head coach of the national taekwondo team, told TASS on Wednesday.

A total of three Russian taekwondo fighters, namely Alexei Denisenko, Albert Gaun and Anastasia Baryshnikova, were selected to represent their country at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"We still have no official information," Ivanov said in an interview with TASS. "However, the president of the International Taekwondo Federation [ITF] stated earlier that the federation had no claims to our [Russian] athletes whatsoever."

"The ITF is waiting for response from WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency], but there was no information earlier concerning positive doping tests of our fighters," Ivanov added.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian law professor, Richard McLaren, released a report on July 18 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.

According to the details, 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 had covered up a doping program in Russian sports.

The report from WADA’s Commission stated in particular that the commission’s investigation registered a total of 643 cases of Disappearing Positive Test Results in Russia between 2012 and 2015 involving athletes from 30 sports.

Following the commission’s report last week, WADA recommended the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all international sports federations ban Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.

After a conference call by its Executive Board on July 24, the IOC urged international federations for winter sports events to suspend preparations for major competitions in Russia. The motion will be in effect until December 31, 2016 and may be reviewed at a December session of the IOC Executive Board.

IOC President Thomas Bach, however, announced on Sunday that Russian athletes, with the exception of field and track competitors, were allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics based on individual approval of each respective international sports federation or association.

His statement followed last Sunday’s teleconference of the IOC Executive Board, which, however, ruled than no Russian athlete, who had been previously sanctioned for doping would be allowed to take part in the Rio Olympics, even if they have served the sanction as well as any athlete mentioned in the McLaren report.

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