Monday , September 24 2018

Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics: IOC – Deputy PM Mutko given Olympic life ban; athletes can compete under Olympic flag

LAUSANNE, Dec 5, (Agencies): Russia were banned from the 2018 Olympics on Tuesday over state-sponsored doping but the International Olympic Committee said Russian competitors would be able to compete “under strict conditions”.

The IOC announced the decision after examining evidence of state-sponsored doping over several years that reached a high-point at the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

Nations have in the past been barred from taking part in the Olympics, notably South Africa during the apartheid years, but none has ever been handed a blanket ban over doping. Russian athletes, however, would be able to take part in the Games, the IOC said, as independent competitors “under the Olympic flag”.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was on Tuesday given a lifetime Olympic ban over his involvement in Russian doping, the International Olympic Committee announced.

Mutko, who was banned from the Rio 2016 Games, was implicated in the World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned McLaren report as the then Russian Sports Minister.

In a statement, the IOC announced the decision “to exclude the then Minister of Sport, Mr Vitaly Mutko, and his then Deputy Minister, Mr. Yuri Nagornykh, from any participation in all future Olympic Games”.

Mutko also heads Russia’s 2018 World Cup organising committee.

Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme constitutes an “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport”, the IOC chief Thomas Bach said.

Bach explained: “The IOC EB (Executive Board), after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes.”

The IOC announced the decision after examining evidence of state-sponsored doping over several years that reached a high-point at the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

The IOC told a news conference that the Schmid report confirmed “the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia.”

Samuel Schmid, author of the report, told journalists: “The results are not based only on (whistleblower) Grigoory Rodchenkov’s testimony.

There is scientific evidence, witness statements documents and correspondence.

“The facts are that in Russia there was systemic manipulation of doping and the anti-doping system … that also took place at Sochi 2014 (Winter Olympics).” The IOC’s decision comes 18 months after it had refused an outright ban of Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and told international sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians in Brazil.

While all the track and field athletes bar one and the entire weightlifting team were banned from Rio, around 70 percent of Russia’s original 387-strong squad ended up taking part at those Games.

Tuesday’s decision, however, looks to have taken into account growing vocal protests from other countries, major national anti-doping agencies and individual athletes who felt they had been robbed by their Russian opponents for years and had demanded a full suspension of Russia.

 

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