Rio 2016: Russia’s 271 athletes cleared for Rio Games

Russia avoids blanket ban despite being implicated in state-sponsored doping by World Anti-Doping Agency.

Olympic Games 2016 Feature
Russia had entered 387 names for the Rio Olympics [Tanya Zenkovich/EPA]

Russia’s 271 athletes have been cleared to take part in the Rio Games after clearing doping investigations, Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov has said.

Russia entered 387 names for the Olympics, but competitors implicated in a World Anti-Doping Agency report have been eliminated by sports federations.

Cleared athletes include the 11-strong boxing and judo teams, 30 volleyballers and beach volleyballers, and eight tennis players.

READ MORE: Is it fair to ban Russian athletes?

The IOC had decided not to impose a blanket ban on Russia after World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigator Richard McLaren revealed widespread and state-sponsored doping in the country in a special report from July 18. 

A week later, the IOC decided to have the sports federations rule on who could compete in Rio based on McLaren’s evidence and special criteria, such as not nominating any Russian with a previous sanction.

“The Russian team may have experienced the toughest checks of the Olympics, because they had to go through multiple tests and checked,” said Russia’s Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov.

“On top of all that, Russian athletes are going through additional testing which is taking place at the Olympic Village. So, as of now, the Russian team is probably the cleanest in Rio.”

‘Not political’

This panel has now completed its work and was sending out its results, with IOC President Thomas Bach saying that they were expected to “be ready for publication later today”.

Bach on Thursday again defended the decision of the IOC not to ban the whole Russian team over the allegations, which also included tampering with test samples and disappearing positive tests.

He insisted the decision was not political.

“Justice has to be blind. You have to take notice of the facts. It was a very serious report with allegations concerning the anti-doping lab in Moscow and the ministry of sport. When having to take such a decision, the allegations play a major role,” Bach said.

Source: News Agencies