Rio de Janeiro, Aug 2 (IANS) International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has defended the organisation’s handling of the Russian doping issue, insisting that a blanket ban on the country’s athletes would be unfair.
Anti-doping bodies have called for Russia to be excluded from the Rio Olympics, which begin on Friday, in the wake of a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency that accused the country of state-sponsored doping, reports Xinhua.
“This decision is about justice,” Bach said during the opening ceremony of the IOC’s general assembly on Monday.
“Justice has to be independent from politics. Whoever responds to a violation of the law with another violation of the law is destroying justice.”
The IOC has asked international sports federations to decide which athletes can compete, but banned all competitors with prior doping sanctions. Some 100 Russians have been barred from the Rio Games.
“We had to take the necessary decisions,” Bach said. “Because of the seriousness of the allegations, we could not uphold the presumption of innocence for Russian athletes. On the other hand, we cannot deprive an athlete of the human right to be given the opportunity to prove his or her innocence.”
“You cannot punish a human being for the failures of his or her government if he or she is not implicated. These principles are now being implemented,” he added.
According to the IOC, there will be be 4,500 urine tests and 1,000 blood tests conducted during the August 5-21 Games.
Meanwhile, Bach declared Rio “ready” to host the Games and said problems with shoddy construction work at the Olympic Village had been resolved.