International Athletics

Australia backs Russian Olympic ban

2015-11-10 10:03
Athletics (File)

Sydney - Australia's national Olympic committee on Tuesday said it would support banning Russian athletes from next year's Summer Games after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) outlined evidence of systematic doping.

Athletics Australia also called on the sport's world governing body, the IAAF, and its president Sebastian Coe to act on the damning WADA report.

"We would very much support Russian track and field athletes not being allowed to compete in Rio if their federation is not code-compliant to WADA," the 2016 Australian Olympic team's chef de mission Kitty Chiller told reporters in Sydney.

"If Russia is not in Rio, I think the reputation of athletics will be enhanced because the public will know every athlete competing is clean and is competing in the true spirit of the Olympic Games."

Athletics Australia chief Phil Jones added in a statement that "circumstances like those alleged in this report must not be allowed to continue".

The WADA report outlined evidence of systematic cheating carried out with the consent of the government in Moscow, noting that drug tests for athletes were conducted at a Russian lab which lacked credibility.

The panel's findings called for the IAAF to suspend Russia's athletics body (ARAF) and declare it "non-compliant" with globally agreed doping regulations.

Jones urged the IAAF Council to consider whether the Russian Athletics Federation was an appropriate host for the 2016 world junior championships and world race walking team championships.

Both Australian organisations also said that Jared Tallent, silver medallist in the 2012 London Olympics' 50km walk behind Russia's Sergey Kirdyapkin, should be retrospectively awarded the gold.

Kirdyapkin, who won his gold in a record time, was suspended for abnormalities in his biological passport in January, with the ban backdated to October 15, 2012.

"Jared Tallent has been denied the prize and the accolade that he most rightly deserves," Chiller said.

"That's now in the hands of the IAAF to ensure that, if any results or placings are to be affected retrospectively, that that happens."

Tallent said he felt vindicated following the damning report.

"A lot of people think it's too much negativity, and they don't want to speak about it," the Australian Associated Press quoted Tallent as saying on Tuesday.

"Even some other people in Australia, they reckon it affects them, me speaking out, which is disappointing.

"I think it's better if everyone speaks out, there's more chance that changes will happen."

In New Zealand, where shot putter Valerie Adams was belatedly awarded London 2012 gold after Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus was disqualified for doping, national Olympic chief Kereyn Smith said the report was "devastating".

"It's exceptionally concerning and really brings into question the integrity of sport, clean competitions and protecting the clean athletes," she told TV3. "So it's a real shock to sport generally."

Smith said athletes who finished behind Russian rivals in 2012 would now be asking themselves what might have been.

"I really feel for them because we know the situation that Valerie was in after London and just what that meant to New Zealand and what it meant to Val as an athlete," she said.

The IAAF Council is due to meet on Friday to discuss the crisis facing the Olympics' flagship sport, and Russia faces a provisional suspension at the next IAAF meeting this month in Monaco.

Read more on:    iaaf  |  wada  |  athletics

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