Adelaide, June 19 (IANS) Australia’s fastest woman sprinter Melissa Breen said the authorities have taken the right decision to ban Russia’s athletes, and added that she is happy to run against a field of clean rivals in the forthcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The 25-year-old, whose 11.11 seconds 100-metre personal-best is the fastest by any Australian woman, said athletics’ ruling body was compelled to extend Russia’s suspension and expel athletes involved in its systemic doping culture from the Games in August.
“We want a clean sport and we want an even playing field for everyone across all sports under the Olympic banner,” Breen was quoted as saying by Australia’s newspaper The Advertiser on Saturday.
“For me, I think they had no choice. It had to be done. Some action had to be taken for the credibility of the Olympic movement and the credibility of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). So they’ve taken a tough stance and I credit them for doing that.”
Canberra runner Breen will contest her second Olympics after a difficult qualification series in which she narrowly missed her benchmark times.
She finally broke through in Townsville last month — and said she was relieved that her hard work to qualify would not be cheapened by having to compete against athletes who trained under Russia’s state-sponsored doping programmes.
“But all I can do is go out there and run as fast as I can and not let anything like that influence me. All I can do is step out on the track … know that I’m a clean athlete,” she added.