IOC postpones decision on Russia's participation in Rio Games

Russia-flag-Rio This file photo taken on February 7, 2014 shows the Olympic and Russian flags during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics | AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has postponed till Thursday its decision on a possible blanket ban on Russia at the Rio Games, according to media reports.

The IOC’s executive committee held a telephone conference on the findings of the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on doping abuses in Russia, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.

Marca said it was decided to immediately set up a special commission to look at the legitimacy of the possible suspension of an entire country from the Olympic Games and to decide what to do with clean athletes, reports TASS.

Apart from that, all international federations were asked not to grant Russia the right to host international competitions until the probe into the Richard McLaren report in over.

The IOC also decided to re-check all available doping samples taken from Russian athletes.

The decision was complicated by the fact that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday began a hearing in Geneva into appeals from 68 Russian track and field athletes banned from competing in Rio by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last month. The CAS decision is due on Thursday.

The Independent Commission of the WADA chaired by Canadian lawyer McLaren released a report on Monday on the results of a probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

The McLaren investigation found evidence that Russia’s Sports Ministry and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service supported the doping programme in Russian sports.

The commission also concluded that the system of concealing positive doping tests at the Moscow anti-doping laboratory had been in effect from late 2011 to August 2015.

Following the report WADA urged a ban on Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.

Meanwhile, Giovanni Malago, the president of the National Olympic Committee of Italy, said on Tuesday that he could not imagine the Olympic Games without the Russian contingent.

"In collective imagination, the Olympic Games are an event for all. Honestly, I cannot imagine them without Russia," the ANSA Italian News Agency quoted Malago as saying.

He also said he was not in a position to make decisions on teams’ participation in the Olympics.

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will take place from August 5-21.

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