‘IOC, sports federations failing to protect Russian athletes from abuse’

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Moscow, Aug 18 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sports federations are not fulfilling their responsibilities by allowing Russian athletes to become the target of abuse at the Rio Olympics, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.

At the ongoing Rio Games, Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova, who won two silver medals, became the target of hostile attitude by American swimmers Lilly King and Michael Phelps, reports Sputnik.

“The organisers must stop the competition and tell the fans to stop discriminating against the athlete, otherwise the competition will stop. They must do this, but nothing was done, nothing was stopped. I always say that international organisations are not just overseers, they are also event organisers and operators. They must protect all countries and all athletes. And they are not fulfilling their functions,” Mutko told R-Sport.

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Mutko warned fans against antagonising athletes from rival teams adding that there are international conventions against discrimination in sports.

The Russian minister stressed that IOC and international sports federations should have more than just condemn the antagonising of Russian athletes in hindsight.

King slammed Efimova for being caught “drug cheating” and stated that she was “not a fan” of the Russian swimmer.

Finishing first in the women’s 100 metre breaststroke on Monday, King did not congratulate Efimova but hugged compatriot Katie Meili, who won the bronze medal.

Phelps also made remarks on Efimova’s previous doping violation. The swimmer was also jeered by the US team supporters during several Olympic events.

On the eve of the Rio Olympics, Efimova was cleared by the International Swimming Federation to take part in the competition, successfully winning her appeal against a doping ban imposed in July.

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