Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: June 21, 2016 7:04 p.m.
Russian, Kenyan athletes to be tested ahead of Rio
The Russian sports ministry says it looks forward to “working closely” with international federations on drug-testing of its athletes ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Sports leaders at an Olympic summit on Tuesday called for testing of individual Russian and Kenyan athletes across all sports, warning that evidence of inadequate doping controls could lead to more teams being barred from the games.
The Russian ministry says “we respect the statement made today by the International Olympic Committee and fully support its zero tolerance approach to doping.”
The Russian statement adds: “We look forward to working closely with the international federations to determine how to assess eligibility.”
The statement says “individual athletes in Russia are willing to demonstrate their innocence and prove they are clean.”
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko is quoted by Tass as saying “we are ready to be open, we are ready to work.”
Meanwhile, former Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov welcomed comments by IOC President Thomas Bach that any Russian track and field athletes who are ruled eligible to compete in the games by the IAAF would do so under the Russian flag, not a neutral one.
Popov was quoted by Tass as saying the IOC “has taken the right and wise stance.”
He says he is “finally feeling positive now after so much dirt has been thrown on us.”
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The president of the Russian Olympic Committee took a swipe at American sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay in a speech to Olympic leaders on Tuesday, questioning the fairness of letting them compete in Rio de Janeiro while some Russians cannot.
Alexander Zhukov made his case for Russian athletes to the sports leaders, who later upheld the decision to keep the country's track and field federation suspended.
"Do you really think it is fair to make it impossible for Yelena Isinbayeva and Sergei Shubenkov to participate in the Olympic Games which will be attended by Tyson Gay and twice disqualified for doping Justin Gatlin?" Zhukov asked. "From the perspective of Russian athletes, it is an extreme injustice and humiliation."
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100-meter gold medalist, has twice been suspended for doping. He tested positive for excessive testosterone in 2006, his second offense, but was reinstated on July 24, 2010. He returned to capture the bronze medal at the London Games two years later and finished second to Usain Bolt in the 100 and 200 at last year's world championships in Beijing.
Gay has also tested positive for doping.
"We consider it unfair on the vast majority of our athletes who have never doped and have not violated any criteria," Zhukov told the meeting. "They will be punished for the sins of others."
Isinbayeva, the world-record holder in the pole vault and a two-time Olympic champion, has threatened to go to court on human rights grounds if she is barred from competing in Rio. Shubenkov won the 110-meter hurdles at last year's worlds.
Russia's track and field federation was suspended last November following a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report detailing systematic, state-sponsored doping.
The sport's world governing body upheld the decision on Friday, effectively keeping Russian track and field athletes from competing in Rio while also opening the door for some to compete as neutral athletes if they can prove they are clean.
The IOC backed the decision last week, and the Olympic summit did the same on Tuesday. But IOC President Thomas Bach did say that if any Russian track athletes do compete in Rio, they will do so under the Russian flag.