The Latest: World tennis body expects Russia’s team in Rio


LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest from the IOC meeting on Russia’s participation at the Rio Games (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

The International Tennis Federation says it expects Russia’s eight-player Olympic tennis team to compete at the games in Rio de Janeiro.

The ITF’s announcement came after the International Olympic Committee allowed individual sports to decide whether to allow Russians at the games. The IOC said it was imposing tough eligibility conditions, including proof of reliable anti-doping testing.

The federation says “the eight Russian tennis players who have been nominated to compete in Rio have been subject to a rigorous anti-doping testing programme outside Russia.”

It added that the ITF “believes that this is sufficient for the eight Russian tennis players to meet the relevant requirement of today’s decision of the IOC executive board.”

But the ITF added it will seek confirmation from the World Anti-Doping Agency that “none of those players or the Russian Tennis Federation were implicated in the McLaren report.”

The report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren accused Russia of running a state-sponsored doping and cover-up program.

___

7:20 p.m.

The body representing the 204 national Olympic committees has welcomed the IOC’s decision not to impose a blanket ban on Russians from the Rio de Janeiro Games.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board decided to let individual sports federations decide which Russians should be eligible, following allegations of state-sponsored cheating by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, says the “allegations made in the McLaren report were shocking and directly threaten the integrity of sport.”

But Sheikh Ahmad believes “banning the entire Russian team would have unfairly punished many clean athletes.”

He endorsed the IOC’s decision to give “international federations responsibility to ensure clean competitions in their sports at Rio 2016.”

___

7:05 p.m.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has welcomed the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar a renowned Russian doping whistleblower from competing at the games.

The IOC said 800-meter Yulia Stepanova, who along with her husband provided evidence of widespread doping in Russian track and field, could not race in Rio because she once served a doping ban.

Isinbayeva, who herself has been prevented from going to Rio as part of a blanket ban on the Russian track team, tells Russia’s R-Sport agency that “at least one wise decision on track and field has been taken” in Stepanova’s case.

Isinbayeva also called for Stepanova to be “banned for life.”

Stepanova and her husband left Russia in 2014 citing fears for their safety and have been branded traitors by many Russian fans and officials.

___

6:45 p.m.

Before the IOC made its ruling, Russia’s top Olympic official had warned the International Olympic Committee that its members would be bowing to “geopolitical pressure” if they banned Russia from next month’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

In the text of Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov’s speech to the board, he compares a blanket ban on all Russian athletes to catching a criminal and then placing “his family, friends and acquaintances behind bars just because they knew the criminal or they live in the same town.”

Calls to ban the entire Russian team went “beyond the bounds of sport,” Zhukov said, adding “I call on you not to become hostages of geopolitical pressure.”

___

6:10 p.m.

Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov says it will not appeal against an IOC rule to bar Russian athletes who previously served doping bans from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Zhukov, who attended Sunday’s telephone conference of the IOC executive board, says he does not agree with the rule agreed just 12 days before the opening ceremony.

Still, he says “we don’t have time enough to do such a thing” like appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A previous CAS verdict suggests the IOC rule could be overturned.

In 2011, a CAS panel declared invalid the IOC’s so-called “Osaka Rule,” which sought to bar athletes from the next Olympic Games if they served a ban for doping of at least six months.

Zhukov does not rule out any Russian athlete filing an urgent appeal as an individual because “all of them can go to CAS.”

___

6:05 p.m.

Russia is likely to be without some of its top athletes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro thanks to an International Olympic Committee rule prohibiting former dopers from competing.

While rejecting a blanket ban on the Russian team, the IOC said Russia cannot send any athlete “who has ever been sanctioned for doping, even if he or she has served the sanction.”

That appears to rule out swimmer Yulia Efimova, the world champion in the 100-meter breaststroke, 2012 Olympic silver medal-winning weightlifter Tatyana Kashirina and two-time Olympic bronze medal-winning cyclist Olga Zabelinskaya.

All three have previously served a doping ban.

___

5:45 p.m.

The leader of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says the IOC refused to take decisive leadership by stopping short of a complete Russian ban at the Olympics.

Travis Tygart says the decision and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.

Tygart also called the decision to refuse Yulia Stepanova entry into the games “incomprehensible” — and a move that will undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward.

___

5:20 p.m.

IOC President Thomas Bach has defended the decision not to ban all Russians from the Olympics by insisting clean athletes should not be punished.

Bach says “an athlete should not suffer and should not be sanctioned for a system in which he was not implicated.”

The International Olympic Committee is leaving it up to international sports federations to decide which Russian athletes can compete in Rio de Janeiro next month.

Bach accepted that the decision “might not please everybody.”

But speaking on a media call, Bach added that “this is not about expectations — this is about doing justice to clean athletes all over the world.”

___

5 p.m.

The Russian Sports Minister says that “the majority” of Russia’s team complies with International Olympic Committee criteria on doping and will be able to compete in Rio.

The IOC set extra criteria for Russian athletes when ruling out a complete ban. Athletes who have previously served doping bans will not be eligible, while international federations will also analyze an athlete’s testing history.

Vitaly Mutko says the criteria are “very tough, but that’s a kind of challenge for our team… I’m sure the majority of our team will comply.”

Around “80 percent” of the Russian team regularly undergoes international testing of the kind specified in the IOC criteria, he adds.

Mutko says he accepts the criteria but adds it is not fair that former dopers from other countries can compete.

___

3:55 p.m.

The IOC has decided against a complete ban on Russian athletes from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The International Olympic Committee says it is leaving it up to global federations to decide which Russian athletes to accept in their sports.

The IOC says it will deny entry of Russian athletes who do not meet the requirements set out for the federations.

The IOC says the federations have the authority, under their own rules, to exclude Russian teams as a whole from their sports.

__

2:20 p.m.

Several Russian TV networks are joined by news crews for broadcasters from around the globe awaiting the IOC decision.

Around 25 media are gathered at the front door of the IOC’s temporary premises in Lausanne, about 400 meters from the Olympic Museum.

Most are focused on finding shade from the 25-degree (77 Fahrenheit) sunshine as the IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, leads a conference call of his executive board. It will consider a ban on Russian athletes from the Rio de Janeiro Games that open in 12 days’ time.

Bach is not expected to meet with reporters after the meeting.

Russian broadcasters expect IOC member Alexander Zhukov to emerge to update TV crews.

Reporters from Brazilian, Chinese and Japanese broadcasters are among the group.

___

12:59 p.m.

Russia is waiting to find out whether its entire team will be excluded from next month’s Olympics over the country’s doping scandal.

Russia has already been handed a doping punishment when its track and field team lost an appeal against a ban on Thursday.

Earlier interim IOC measures announced Tuesday included urging winter sports federations to move their competitions out of Russia this season, in response to allegations that Russian state officials hid hundreds of failed drug tests over several years and swapped samples from doped athletes for clean ones during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Russia has admitted some doping violations by its athletes and coaches, but still denies that the government was involved. State media has painted the issue as a U.S.-led political vendetta.

___

12:37 p.m.

Olympic leaders are meeting to consider whether to impose a total ban on Russian athletes from the Rio de Janeiro Games because of state-sponsored doping.

The International Olympic Committee’s ruling executive board is meeting Sunday via teleconference to decide on sanctions following new allegations of a government-backed doping program involving Russian athletes in summer and winter sports.

Russia’s track and field athletes have already been banned by the IAAF, the sport’s governing body, a decision that was upheld Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The World Anti-Doping agency and other anti-doping bodies have recommended a ban on Russia’s entire team.

The IOC has said it would seek a balance between “collective punishment” and “individual justice.”

Short of a complete ban, the IOC could let individual sports federations decide whether to allow Russian athletes in their events.

comments powered by Disqus