Russia cries foul, rest of world welcomes IAAF’s ban
VIENNA – Russia claimed the IAAF’s decision to continue its ban of Russian athletics on Friday was unfair and threatened legal action, while the rest of the world welcomed the move and urged the IOC not to go against it.
“We are extremely disappointed by the IAAF’s decision, creating the unprecedented situation of a whole nation’s track and field athletes being banned from the Olympics,” said the Russian ministry of sport.
“Clean athletes’ dreams are being destroyed because of the reprehensible behavior of other athletes and officials.
“We now appeal to the members of the International Olympic Committee to not only consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on their dreams and the people of Russia, but also that the Olympics themselves will be diminished by their absence.”
The IAAF voted unanimously to uphold its ban on Russia for systematic doping, saying the country had not made enough progress on reforms to dispel concerns of state-sponsored drug abuse.
The Russian athletics federation blamed the media, saying: “The pressure which we experienced in the last few days ahead of the council meeting, when every day we had some kind of interview or publications, which as a rule had negative connotations, doubtlessly influenced the decision.”
Yelena Isinbayeva, who had hoped to seek a third Olympic pole vault gold in Rio and who is one of Russia’s most prominent athletes, described it as a violation of human rights.
“I will not be quiet, I will take steps. I will go to the human rights court. I will prove to the IAAF and WADA that they made the wrong decision,” she said, referring to the World Anti-Doping Agency.
A Kremlin spokesman, speaking hours before the ban was extended, said: “Everything possible needed to defend the rights of our athletes and the Olympic team is being done and will be done at a legal level.”
The IOC merely “took note” of the decision but said it would discuss the situation in a telephone conference on Saturday.