‘Russia has never favoured Olympic boycotts’

Moscow, July 11 (IANS) Russia has never backed boycotts of Olympic Games, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said on Monday, as the country awaits the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)’s verdict on allowing its track and field athletes to compete at the Rio Games starting on August 5.

“Russia has always condemned ideas of boycotting (Olympic Games), and has never been in favour of such ideas,” TASS quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Replying to a query whether he ruled out the possibility of Russia’s boycotting the Rio Olympics this summer, Peskov said once again: “Russia has always denounced the idea of boycotts”.

He also pledged that the Russian athletes would go all the way to defend their right to participate in the summer Olympic Games.

“This is not a time for some emotional reactions, this is a time for legal formalities, which are underway,” the spokesman said in reply to reporters’ questions about permit for the Russian athletes to participate in the Olympics.

He said “it is not long now to see relevant judicial decisions”.

“Of course, as to the use of all kinds of judicial instruments, Russian athletes and those who defend the interests of the Russian athletes, will be using all mechanisms and will go all the way,” he pledged.

Russia’s Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes filed a lawsuit with the Court of Arbitration for Lausanne to challenge the IAAF’s decision to bar them from participation in the Olympic Games.

The CAS will hear the case on July 19 and announce its verdict no later than July 21.

European Athletics Championship bronze medallist Klishina filed an application with the IAAF for participation in the Rio Olympics in late June.

The IAAF Council ruled on June 17 that only those Russian athletes would be admitted to international competitions, including the Rio Olympics, who would prove they were uninvolved in doping scandals.

Russian sport has been in the centre of doping-related scandals since last year. Starting this year doping control in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

WADA’s Independent Commission published on November 9 last year results of its probe into the activity of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the finding of the agency’s Independent Commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organisation.

–IANS

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