Moscow - Russia
insisted on Friday it expects to avoid a blanket ban from the IOC on its
competitors at the Rio Olympics despite its track and field squad losing
an appeal over a suspension for state-sponsored doping.
"All sportsmen who have not been convicted or are not under suspicion
of doping should have the right to compete," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry
"That is the decision we are counting on."
The International Olympic Committee's executive board are to hold a
conference call on Sunday to discuss banning Russia from the Rio Games
starting on August 5.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday ruled against
Russia's athletes in a decision seen as a key indicator as the IOC
debates whether to kick out the whole Russian team.
The IOC is facing international pressure to act tough on Russia and
ban the entire team over bombshell revelations of a state-run doping
system that has seen the country cheat its way to victory.
Fourteen national anti-doping agencies including the United States,
Canada and Germany sent a joint letter to IOC President Thomas Bach on
Thursday urging him to ban Russia from Rio.
Officials in Moscow have slammed the decision by CAS to reject its
appeal against a ban from the world athletics body IAAF, calling it part
of a broader political campaign by the West against Russia.
The suspension of the track and field team already means that star
athletes like pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and hurdler Sergey
Shubenkov will not be in Rio.
Isinbayeva - who has threatened to call time on her career over the
ban - slammed the CAS ruling as a "funeral for athletics."
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko - who has clung on despite the scandal
- said Moscow now hopes the IOC will defer to individual international
sporting federations to decide whether other Russian squads can compete.
The CAS ruling has been the
focus of Olympic attention since an independent WADA report this week
said Russia ran a "state-dictated failsafe system" of drug cheating in
30 sports at the 2014 Sochi Games and other major events.
But Russia has found support from some international sports bodies,
with the International Judo Federation (IJF) insisting all clean
athletes should be allowed to take part in Rio.
"We hope that by allowing participation of Russian athletes in Rio
2016, we will send out a positive message to all the young people who
deserve to be given examples of friendship instead of examples of Cold
War," said IJF president Marius Vizer.
Individual Russian federations said they were now looking nervously ahead for the IOC to make its next move.
"We're all in suspense waiting for the IOC decision," wrestling federation president Mikhail Mamiashvili told AFP.
"I hope that the common sense and personal responsibility of those who will take the decision will prevail."
The IAAF banned all of the Russian track and field team over
allegations of state-sponsored doping but said athletes who prove they
were not tainted by their country's corrupt system could be cleared.
In the IAAF has only gave permission for one Russian team member to
compete as a neutral - US-based long jumper Darya Klishina to compete
The IOC has appeared to back the principle that international
sporting federations could clear individual athletes in case of a
blanket ban but with just two weeks to go until Rio time is slipping
The Russian press had widely predicted that CAS would decide against
Moscow and reaction was a mixture of soul-searching and criticism over
"They accused us of setting up a system in the country based on
doping and we didn't react at all to these accusations," wrote daily
Sovietsky Sport. "That's why they're banning us."
"Alas, everything that is happening with our sports is the fruit of
our own errors," a column in usually pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya
Pravda said, citing years of mismanagement.
"It is far from certain that even the current apocalyptic storm will
force us to change our sport. Maybe only if the IOC buries our team on