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Russian Olympic chief: Unrealistic criteria bar dozens of Russians from Olympics

August 02, 16:37 UTC+3
According to Alexander Zhukov, a number of certain countries has been exerting enormous pressure on the International Olympic Committee
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© AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

RIO DE JANEIRO, August 2. /TASS/. Dozens of Russian athletes have been denied participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because they faced criteria that could not be met under any circumstance, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, Aleksandr Zhukov, said at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

"Many athletes’ reputation has been damaged… In relation to Russian athletes injustice has already taken place. All the samples were taken by foreign doping officers and analyzed by foreign laboratories. The criteria imposed by IAAF were met, but in the end despite all of this Yelena Isinbayeva, Sergey Shubenkov and dozens of other clean athletes were denied the legal right to participate in the Olympic Games. They failed to comply with the new IAAF criteria that could not be met under any circumstances," Zhukov said. "In some other sports clean athletes are suspended from the competitions without any justification or evidence just because they are mentioned in McLaren report. Isn’t this discrimination?"

Certain countries exert enormous pressure on IOC

A number of certain countries has been exerting enormous pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Zhukov added.

"We consider the decision of the IOC Executive Board on the eligibility of Russian athletes to participate in the Games to be very fair," Zhukov said.

"Dear colleagues, You have expressed Your trust in clean Russian athletes and I would like to express my gratitude to You for doing that," the ROC president said. "But at the same time, we are witnessing the enormous pressure that is being put on the IOC by governments and representatives of political circuits of certain countries.

"We are witnessing direct interference of politics in sport," he said. "It is well known what were the results of governments’ interference in sport at the Olympic Games in 1976, 1980, 1984."

"As a matter of fact, the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement, basic human rights, the rights of an athlete and ordinary citizen and independence and the integrity of the Olympic family - are all under attack," Zhukov said.

"This challenge is addressed not to Russia," he said. "It is addressed to the whole Olympic family."

"Today we pay a great deal of attention to Professor McLaren’s report. The findings are really shocking and they rise a great number of questions," according to the ROC president. "The charges against Russia are very serious in their nature and they require a thorough investigation."

"Russia is not only ready to participate in carrying out this kind of an investigation, but will strongly support establishing the truth," the top Russian Olympic official added.

Russian track-and-field athletes have been denied participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because the national federation has been disqualified. "Clean" athletes may be allowed to compete only on the condition they match a number of criteria. One of the IAAF’s requirements was the athlete should have stayed outside the Russian anti-doping system. Under the decision of the IAAF and the Court of Arbitration for Sport only one Russian woman track-and-field athlete, long jumper Darya Klishiha, who lives and trains abroad will participate in the Games.

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