Russia “determined” to clean up athletics and punish drug cheats

Published: Saturday 14th November 2015 by The News Editor

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Russian athletics will undergo a major shake-up in a bid to ensure the country’s ban from international events is lifted in time for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio, it was announced on Saturday.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has agreed to oversee changes and said it was “determined” clean athletes will compete in Rio and any drug cheats will be “punished”.

Russia was provisionally suspended from all international athletics competitions by the world governing body IAAF on Friday when its council members voted 22-1 in favour of the sanction after the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) independent commission’s findings of state-sponsored, systemic doping practices.

The ROC said on Saturday it will comply with all measures imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Following a meeting with ROC president Alexander Zhukov, IOC president Thomas Bach said the door was still open for clean Russian athletes to compete at the Games.

“I welcome the fact that the ROC expressed its firm commitment to protect the clean athletes, and to sanction all the doped athletes and officials,” said Bach.

“I appreciated very much the openness of the discussion and welcomed the fact that the Russian Olympic Committee will play the leading role.

“We are confident that the initiatives being proposed by the ROC, with the responsible international organisations, WADA and the IAAF, will ensure compliance as soon as possible in order to provide participation of the clean Russian athletes at the Olympic Games.”

Zhukov added: “The Russian Olympic Committee is determined that the clean athletes should compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Anyone found guilty of using illegal drugs or anyone who facilitated or was complicit in their use must be punished.”

The ROC has agreed to make the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), the anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, and the National Athletics Federation (ARAF) “compliant with the WADA code and all other international anti-doping regulations as soon as possible”.

Zhukov told Bach an “ongoing thorough investigation by the national authorities in Russia” will fully co-operate with WADA and the IAAF, and the ROC “will initiate the renewal and reform of the ARAF”.

The ROC has also agreed that all athletes, officials and coaches found guilty of doping will be punished in accordance with international anti-doping regulations.

Published: Saturday 14th November 2015 by The News Editor

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