Friday, 15 December, 2017

IOC leaves weightlifting at risk of 2024 Olympic snub

Robots developed by LG are already on duty at Incheon International Airport in South Korea Robots developed by LG are already on duty at Incheon International Airport in South Korea
Rita Gibson | 07 December, 2017, 06:15

Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee over its state- orchestrated doping programme, but clean Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under an Olympic flag.

The punishment is the culmination of a three-year investigation into state-sponsored doping leading up to and during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

While the Schmid report criticizes Russia's minister of sport and describes "a widespread culture of doping in Russian Federation", it also states that it didn't find any solid evidence "confirming the support of the knowledge of this system by the highest State authority" - seemingly a reference to President Vladimir Putin.

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee, Aleksander Zhukov, who himself was suspended by the IOC on Tuesday, told reporters after the decision, that it contained "positive and negative sides".

Although Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang under the Olympic flag, and under strict conditions, the move to exclude a country over doping by the IOC on Tuesday was unprecedented. The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union.

"We urge the active participation of winter sports athletes from all over the world, including Russian athletes".

"It's just truly disheartening to know that a government and their officials would go to the extreme of putting this much pressure on their athletes to perform, and to get results, and to get medals at the Olympics", she said.

"Why are our Olympians being banned from competing under the Russian flag and national symbols, if there is no state support for doping?"

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Pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva told TASS: "Addressing our athletes, I want to say that they should absolutely not despair and should continue training for the games".

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Wednesday it had received appeals from 22 Russian athletes over the bans, and that they asked for the CAS to rule before the Pyeongchang games begin.

Nevertheless, the IOC President Thomas Bach "left the door open for Russia" by allowing athletes to participate in some form, even with the word "Russia" on their uniforms, the newspaper wrote.

These athletes will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia", and their uniform will bear the Olympic flag. That decision means no Russian athletes will compete in their national team colors and their anthem will not play.

"What matters is that the commission wrote in its conclusions that there was no system of state support of doping in Russian Federation".

Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports. But, Walden said Rodchenkov remains fearful for his friends and family who are still in Russian Federation.

The ministry added that it "expects the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be a good opportunity to further strengthen the traditional friendly relationship between South Korea and Russia, and to meet many Russian athletes".

It is now likely that a number of Russian champion athletes will compete.

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