Seven athletes including a canoeing gold medallist became the latest Russian competitors to be banned from next month’s Rio Olympics after an explosive report revealed state-run doping across Russian
Seven athletes including a canoeing gold medallist became the latest Russian competitors to be banned from next month’s Rio Olympics after an explosive report revealed state-run doping across Russian sport.
Five canoeists and two in modern pentathlon were barred, taking the number of Russians banned from the Games — which start in just 10 days — to at least 20 since Sunday.
The bans followed a controversial decision at the weekend by the International Olympic Committee not to suspend all Russian competitors, instead leaving it up to each sport to decide what to do.
The IOC has faced fierce criticism from anti-doping leaders over the move, including accusations that it failed to show leadership in the battle for drug-free sport.
IOC president Thom-as Bach insisted the unprecedented eligibility criteria put in place for Russians had teeth, with the country’s athletes having to clear “the highest hurdles” before going to the Games, that starts on August 5.
International Canoe Federation secretary general Simon Toulson issued a strong rebuke to suspected dopers.
“If you step out of line you won’t make the start line,” he said in a statement.
‘Bitter blow’ The ICF said it had taken “swift action to remove five Russian canoe sprint athletes from the Rio Olympic Games following the release of additional information naming those implicated by the McLaren report”.
The report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency detailed an elaborate doping system in Russia directed by the sports ministry that affected more than 30 sports.
The banned five included Alexey Korova-shkov, a five-time world champion who won a bronze medal in London four years ago, and Alexander Dyachenko, who took gold in a doubles kayak sprint.
“This is a bitter blow for the Olympic movement and we are saddened that our sport is implicated. We have taken swift action and removed all offending athletes where doping evidence exists,” said Toulson.
“The ICF will continue its strong zero-tolerance stance and remove all athletes that contravene its rules in anyway.”
Modern pentathlon’s governing body said two more Russians nominated for Rio — Maksim Kustov and Ilia Frolov — had been implicated in the McLaren report and “are no longer eligible to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games”.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has voiced confidence that the “majority” of the country’s 387-member team would be declared eligible for Rio.