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No blanket ban for Russia

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WADA is disappointed at the decision…reports Asian Lite News

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is “disappointed” its recommendation to ban Russia from next month’s Olympic Games in Rio has been rejected, it has been reported. Following the country’s doping scandal, the International Olympic Committee has left it up to individual sports’ federations to ban Russian competitors.rio olympics

Wada “stands by” its recommendation last month of a full Russia team ban. Wada chief Olivier Niggli is reported to have said the IOC’s decision will “inevitably” mean “lesser protection for clean athletes”.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie was quoted to have said that investigators had “exposed, beyond a reasonable doubt, a state-run doping program in Russia that seriously undermines the principles of clean sport embodied within the World Anti-Doping Code”.

There was also concern expressed for Yuliya Stepanova, the Russian runner whose evidence helped expose her nation’s doping scandal, but will now not be allowed to compete in Rio under a neutral flag. “Wada has been very vocal in supporting Yuliya’s desire to compete as an independent athlete,”  Niggli is reported to have said.

“Ms Stepanova was instrumental in courageously exposing the single biggest doping scandal of all time. Wada is very concerned by the message that this sends whistleblowers for the future.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will leave it up to individual sports’ governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part. The decision follows a report in which Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme from 2011 to 2015. The Rio Games start on 5 August.

Competitors from Russia who want to take part in the Games will have to meet strict criteria laid down by the IOC. Any Russian who has served a doping ban will not be eligible for next month’s Olympics. Track and field athletes have already been banned.

IOC president Thomas Bach was quoted as saying, “We have set the bar to the limit by establishing a number of very strict criteria which every Russian athlete will have to fulfil if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

“I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete.”