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Refusal to ban Russia from Olympics is a 'cop out', say GB athletes

The decision means Russia has no idea how many athletes it can send to Rio less than two weeks before the competition.

Published: 25th July 2016 08:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2016 08:54 AM   |  A+A-

  • IOC has opened itself to ridicule by opting against barring the Russian team under a blanket ban.
  • Russia at this point will have no idea on how many athletes it can send to Rio.
  • British atheletes say that a strong message has not been sent out against doping with this decision.

BRITAIN'S leading athletes led a backlash last night (Sunday) against the refusal to ban Russia from the Olympic Games despite its multiple doping offences.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been urged to ban the entire team from Rio 2016 after the country was found to have run a government-led doping regime in more than 30 sports from 2011 to 2015.

However, the IOC left itself open to ridicule by opting against a blanket ban and instead shifting responsibility to each individual sport's governing body.

The decision means Russia has no idea how many athletes it can send to Rio less than two weeks before the start of the competition.

British athletes were scornful of the decision. Jo Pavey, who will contest the 10,000m at her fifth Olympic Games, said: "Such a disappointing decision by the IOC. This does not send out a strong message that doping will not be tolerated."

Four-time Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent said: "What a cop out." Greg Rutherford, who will defend his Olympic long jump title in Rio, added: "Well, that's the IOC board off my Xmas card list then."

The IOC insists that Russian athletes competing in Rio must fulfil "strict criteria" that includes never having been sanctioned for a doping violation and subjecting themselves to a "rigorous additional out-of-competition testing programme".

Vitaly Mutko, the Russian sports minister alleged to have been complicit in the doping programme, said he did not expect the rules to have much of an impact.

"I'm sure the majority of our team will comply," said Mutko.



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