Olympics: Sole Russian athletics competitor Klishina suspended from Games – IAAF

Russia's Darya Klishina celebrating a win in 2013.
Russia's Darya Klishina celebrating a win in 2013.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (REUTERS) - Russia’s sole track and field competitor at the Rio Olympics, Darya Klishina, has been suspended from the Games, the international athletics federation (IAAF) said on Saturday (Aug 13), confirming it had withdrawn her special eligibility status.

The exemption to a blanket ban on Russian competitors over allegations of state-sponsored doping had been given to the long jumper after she had proved she was not involved in the system and had been subject to drug tests outside the country.

Klishina insisted on social media that she was a clean athlete and said the decision, which she is appealing against at sport’s highest tribunal, was politically motivated.

“The situation with Darya Klishina appears to be cynical mockery of the Russian sportswoman by the IAAF,” Russia’s Olympics chief Alexander Zhukov told Russian news agencies.

A source close to the proceedings, who spoke on condition of anonymity said Klishina had been suspended as new evidence had emerged in relation to a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report, the McLaren report.

The International Association of Athletics Federations told Reuters the long jumper had taken her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, without giving further information.

Olympic bosses confirmed the move. “We have withdrawn her exceptional eligibility status which enables her to compete in international competitions based on new information that has been received,” an International Olympic Committee official told Reuters.

“This information was shared with her last week. We can confirm she is challenging our decision at CAS,” the official said.

The IOC reviewed all the eligibilities submitted by the federations through a three-member panel.

CAS said it expected to rule on her appeal either on Sunday or Monday.

'BEAUTIFUL SPORT'

The report drafted by Canadian Richard McLaren described what WADA said was systematic doping among Russian athletes, supported by the Russian state over several years, including at the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics.

Klishina said she hoped to get a hearing over the weekend to prove her innocence.

“I am a clean athlete and have proved that already many times and beyond any doubt. Based in the US for three years now, I have been almost exclusively tested outside of the anti-doping system in question,” she said on Facebook.

“I am falling victim to those who created a system of manipulating our beautiful sport and is guilty of using it for political purposes.

“At this moment I cannot help but feel betrayed by a system that is not focused on keeping the sport clean and supporting rank-and-file athletes, but rather seeking victories outside sport arenas,” she said.

Russia’s track and field athletes had been banned from the Olympics due to the doping scandal. Klishina’s was one of 136 appeals to the IAAF but the only one given the green light to compete in Rio.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin, president of the Russian Athletics Federation, said Russia had expected such a twist.

“This is not a normal situation, but we anticipated it. I spoke about it, that is issue with Klishina could arise, and here it is,” he told Russia’s R-Sport news agency.

Shlyakhtin said he thought it was unlikely the long jumper’s appeal would be upheld. “In general I am cynical,” R-Sport quoted him as saying.