Friday, June 22, 2018
Sports

Russia loses 118 athletes to doping cuts

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Olympic officials announced Thursday that 271 Russian athletes would be allowed to compete in the Games — 118 fewer than the country hoped to enter — largely settling the question of Russia's participation less than 24 hours before the opening ceremony.

The exclusion of nearly a third of Russia's athletes for their ties to a government-sanctioned doping program will taint the Games and severely diminish Russia's presence in several sports. Still, it is better for Russia than what anti-doping officials had called for: a ban of the entire country.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and fellow Olympic executives rejected that option, a decision Bach defended this week by saying he wanted to avoid the "death and devastation" it could have produced.

The IOC said it consulted with top officials for the Games' 28 sports to determine which athletes would be banned. Those officials were asked to scrutinize the drug-testing history of each Russian. An IOC-appointed panel approved the final Russian roster.

Several international federations announced separately that they had received final approval for Russian entries, including boxing, judo, equestrian, volleyball, golf and gymnastics.

Russia's track and field team remains barred following an earlier decision by the sport's governing body, IAAF.

Athletes who have been denied entry may appeal to world sports' arbitration court, which established a satellite office in Rio. Also Thursday, the IOC's rule barring Russians with prior doping sanctions from competing was rejected as "unenforceable" by the arbitration court.

Ex-doping official slams world agency: The former chief investigator for the World Anti-Doping Agency says his efforts to investigate Russian doping were repeatedly delayed by the agency's president, who preferred to privately settle matters with Russian officials.

Jack Robertson, who left the agency in January, said he was forced to leak information to the media in order to pressure president Craig Reedie to act, and even then, he says, the agency sat on credible allegations that suggested Russian doping extended far beyond track and field.

The investigation delays allowed the IOC president to claim that once the agency reported on its findings last month, the IOC didn't have enough time to determine whether it should ban all Russian teams, Robertson says in an interview with investigative journalism website Pro Publica and the BBC.

Reedie, a former elite badminton player and chairman of the British Olympic Committee, told the Associated Press that Robertson is "clearly a disaffected former employee" and "I deny categorically that I delayed, or in any way hindered the investigations into Russia."

The agency said in a statement that it "acted immediately … when it had corroborated evidence and the power to do so under the World Anti-Doping Code."

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