Russia track and field banned from Olympics

The Herald reports:

Russia’s track and field team cannot compete at the Rio Olympics because the country has not given up its culture but exceptions will be considered for clean athletes, world athletics body IAAF says.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said after a governing council meeting in Vienna on Friday “although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that RusAF had not met the reinstatement conditions”.

The council found “Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public”, Coe added.

The IAAF had met to consider whether Russia had set up a functioning anti-doping structure in response to a report by world anti-doping agency WADA that detailed systematic cheating in Russian athletics.

“The deep-seated culture of tolerance or worse for doping that got RusAF suspended in the first place seems not to have changed materially,” said Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF’s Russia task force.

There were still no strong anti-doping infrastructure in Russia and doping tests were still being hampered, Anderson added.

This is a good decision. All countries probably have some athletes who have cheated with drugs. But in Russia the cheating is state sponsored and sanctioned. Unless Russia remains suspended, there is no incentive for them to genuinely clean up – and other countries would seek to emulate them.

Now the IAAF is acting with some integrity, the question is whether other bodies will do similar.

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