Russia Escapes IOC Blanket Ban for Rio Olympics
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The International Olympic Committee rejected calls for Russia to be banned from next month's Rio Olympics over the nation's doping record, offering athletes a lifeline by ruling that decisions on individual competitors will be left to the international sports federations.
The IOC's decision on Sunday, less than two weeks before the Rio Games opens on Aug. 5, follows the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) call for a blanket ban in response to the independent McLaren report that found evidence of state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
"I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete," IOC President Thomas Bach said on a conference call.
"In this way we are protecting the clean athletes because of the high criteria we set. This may not please everybody, but this result is one which is respecting the rules of justice and all the clean athletes all over the world."
WADA and 14 national anti-doping organisations had urged the IOC to impose a blanket ban in the wake of the damning McLaren report, but former Olympic fencing champion Bach said that Russian sportsmen and women "will have to clear the highest hurdle to take part in the Olympics".
Russia's Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, said the decision cleared the way for Russian participation.
"I hope that the majority of international federations will very promptly confirm the right of (Russian) sportspeople in different types of sports to take part in the Olympic Games," Mutko said, Reuters reported.