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Doping crisis not damaging for Rio Olympics

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Doping crisis not damaging for Rio Olympics

Rio De Janeiro, Aug 1 (IANS) International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said the Russian doping scandal has not tarnished the image of the up coming Rio 2016 Games.

The IOC has said that a three-person panel will decide which Russian athletes can compete in Rio after a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of state-sponsored doping, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I don’t think this event will be damaging. I trust people will realise the difficult situation we are in,” Bach said on Sunday while addressing a press conference here.

“We did our best to address the situation in a way that protected clean athletes.”

WADA’s McLaren report, published earlier this month, proposed a blanket ban on Russian athletes in Rio, alleging they had benefited from a four-year doping programme in most Olympic sports.

The Russian government has denied the accusations.

The IOC initially asked international federations to decide which athletes could compete but later ruled that an independent panel would have the final say.

Around 250 Russian athletes have already been cleared to participate in Rio.

Bach denied the IOC had been pressured by the Kremlin since the publication of the McLaren report.

“I haven’t been talking to any Russian government officials,” he said, adding “We need to resolve the situation before the Games start and then, afterwards, we will have more time to analyse the situation and study it with a certain distance.”

According to the IOC, there will be be 4,500 urine tests and 1,000 blood tests conducted during the August 5-21 Games.

When asked whether continued doubt over Russia’s participation in Rio was embarrassing for the IOC, Bach replied: “No, the IOC is not responsible for the timing of the (McLaren) report.”

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