The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allowed Russia’s 271 athletes the chance to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics after passing a stricter drug test.
The announcement came with just one day left before the opening of the games. Cleared by the IOC to compete for Russia are its athletes in swimming, judo, boxing, shooting, sailing, tennis, archery, golf, synchronized swimming and female water polo. The IOC opted not to ban all Russian athletes after the wake of an alleged nation-backed doping scandal that rocked the sporting world.
Instead of a total ban, the IOC gave the individual sports federation the free hand to conduct their own drug tests and concur with the IOC’s three-man panel to determine if the Russian athletes would be allowed to compete in the games. With 271 athletes from Russia being cleared, they are considered as the “cleanest” delegation and well represented in all of the games.
Russia’s Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said that their delegation will breeze through the alleged obstacle and prove the world wrong. He added that to erase further doubt on the Russian team, he has allowed them to undergo a separate drug testing within the Olympic Village.
“The Russian team may have experienced the toughest checks of the Olympics because they had to go through multiple tests and checked. So, as of now, the Russian team is probably the cleanest in Rio,” Zhukov said.
Russia was supposed to send a strong 387 athlete delegation to the games, but for now, only 271 passed their drug test. Although there are still more Russian athletes undergoing a drug test to qualify for an Olympic spot, the IOC panel has yet to deliver the final verdict on the merits of their cases. IOC President Thomas Bach hopes that panel would be able to deliberate of the cases to ensure complete equality in the games.
Bach noted that the IOC stands justice for the athletes and that politics should have no room in handing down their decisions to cases presented before them. The IOC panel hopes to resolve all doping cases by Saturday, a day after the formal opening of the games.
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