Russia facing Rio 2016 Olympic, Paralympic


Russia made a last-ditch bid to avoid a blanket ban at the Rio Games over state-run doping as a fresh batch of drug test failures from Beijing 2008 and London 2012 rocked the Olympics.However, as they launched a desperate rearguard action, the International Paralympic Federation (IPF) announced they were seeking a suspension which would sideline the Russians from the Paralympics in Rio in September.The IOC’s executive board are to hold a conference call on Sunday to discuss barring Russia from the Olympics starting on August 5 over bombshell doping revelations.The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected an appeal by Russia’s track and field team against their suspension from Rio in a decision seen as a key indicator as the IOC debates whether to kick out the whole Russian team.Russia is a sporting powerhouse whose absence from Rio would create the biggest crisis in decades for the Olympic movement and President Vladimir Putin launched a final push to avert a ban.“The official position of the Russian authorities — the government, the president and all of us — is that in sport there is not and can be no place for doping,” Putin told government ministers.The Kremlin strongman ordered officials to cooperate with the IOC and World Anti-Doping Agency and Russia’s Olympic committee to establish an anti-doping commission.He also picked an 81-year-old former national Olympic committee chief, Vitaly Smirnov, to head the new commission.Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev also intervened, urging IOC president Thomas Bach to spare clean athletes in a letter released by Match TV sports channel.“For me the principle of collective punishment is unacceptable,” wrote 85-year-old Gorbachev, asking Bach to make a “just decision.”Meanwhile, the IPC said that in light of this week’s McLaren report, it expected to announce a decision on whether or not it will suspend Russia in the week commencing August 1.The IPC said they have been provided with the names of the Paralympic athletes associated with the 35 “disappearing positive samples” from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory which were highlighted in McLaren’s report.They are also sending 19 samples from the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for immediate further analysis, after they were identified as having been potentially doctored as part of a sample-swapping regime.

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