Russia hails IOC rejection of Rio ban MOSCOW: Russia hailed an “objective” decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday not to ban its entire team from next month’s Rio Games over revelations of state-run doping.
“It was objective and taken in the interests of world sport and the unity of the Olympic family. We are grateful to the IOC for such a decision,” sports minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency.
He added later in televised comments that he was convinced that the “majority” of the Russian team would meet strict criteria to compete.
“As far as the criteria announced for the Russian team on the eve of the Olympic Games they are of course very tough,” Mutko said.
“It is a specific challenge for our sportsmen but I am absolutely sure that the majority of the Russian team will meet the criteria.”
The IOC on Sunday ordered individual sports federations to decide whether Russian competitors should take part in the Rio Games after failing to agree on a complete ban.
The Olympic body’s executive decided that any Russian athlete wanting to go to Rio, where the Games start on August 5, will have to prove that he or she was not involved in the doping which an independent investigator said was organised by the sports ministry and Russian secret service.
Russian sports bosses welcomed the decision and began looking forward to the competition in Rio.
“I don’t see any problem with the participation of our tennis players at the Olympics,” Shamil Tarpishev, the president of Russia’s tennis federation told TASS news agency.
“I am sure that the whole team that we’ve named will compete at Rio.”
The head of Russia’s swimming federation Vladimir Salnikov told R-Sport that he was waiting to hear from the international swimming federation if the new IOC criteria would rule out swimming star Yulia Efimova, who tested positive for banned substance meldonium.
Separately, an IOC ethics commission also ruled that 800m runner Yuliya Stepanova, who turned whistleblower on doping in Russian athletics, could not go to Rio even as a neutral.
Russia’s track and field team is already barred from Rio and the decision to exclude Stepanova, who served a doping ban exposing the rot inside Russian athletics, was greeted with approval by officials.
“It is correct that they did not let in Stepanova. I support that decision,” athletics federation head Dmitry Shlyaktin told R-Sport.