Kremlin slams ban on Russian athletes from Rio Olympics

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Kremlin slams ban on Russian athletes from Rio Olympics

Moscow, July 21 (IANS) The Kremlin considers the blanket ban on Russian field and track athletes from the upcoming Olympics in Rio de janeiro inadmissible, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary said on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against the appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 national athletes thus closing the doors for Russian field and track athletes to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, reports TASS.

“We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable,” Peskov told journalists. “We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies.”

“We can only express our deep regret,” the Kremlin spokesman said, adding that “our relevant agencies will analyze the situation quickly and efficiently.”

“The news is not very good, we will definitely have to analyze the situation taking into account this decision, so I would withhold comment on the issue for the time being,” Peskov said.

According to the official, Moscow’s position on impossibility of boycotting 2016 Summer Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro has not changed after the verdict made by the CAS.

“We have already answered this question. I don’t think I need to repeat myself,” Peskov said.

Peskov reminded about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that boycotting Olympics is “an absolute mistake.” However, the Kremlin spokesman added, boycotts of the Olympic Games have happened several times.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the All-Russia Atheltics Federation (ARAF), told TASS that Russian field and track athletes lost all chances of participating in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games after today’s ruling.

“I think there are no chances,” Shlyakhtin said.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva believes that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is Russian athletes’ last hope to participate in the Summer Olympics in Rio.

“The final decision will be announced by IOC President Tomas Bach,” Isinbayeva told TASS.

Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko believes the CAS verdict is politicized and has no legal grounds.

“I can express nothing but regret. We will now consider our further steps. I think this decision is biased and somewhat politicized and has no legal grounds,” Mutko said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, released a report on Monday on the results of its probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

The commission claimed it had found evidence that Russia’s sports ministry and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service (FSB) supported the doping program in Russian sports.

Following the report, WADA recommended the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all international sports federations to ban Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.

Putin announced on Monday evening that all Russian officials mentioned in the WADA commission’s report would be temporary suspended from their posts until the investigation was over.

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