Russia will comply and compete at Rio: Bach

IOC boss Thomas Bach is not calling for Russia's athletics federation to be banned.
IOC boss Thomas Bach is not calling for Russia's athletics federation to be banned.PHOTO: REUTERS

WELLINGTON • Olympics chief Thomas Bach expects Russia will comply with doping regulations in time for their athletes to compete at next year's Rio de Janeiro Games, despite calls for the country to be banned amid allegations of state-backed cheating.

An independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) recommended Russia's athletics federation be banned from the sport following allegations of widespread corruption and collusion by Russian officials, which include covering up positive drug tests.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it wanted disciplinary procedures to be opened.

It warned that any competitors, coaches or officials mentioned in the Wada report - who were proved to have violated doping regulations - would be punished and stripped of medals.

In an interview with New Zealand television yesterday, IOC president Bach would not speculate on whether all Russian athletes should be banned from the 2016 Olympics.

He said it was up to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to determine if sanctions were necessary.

"I will not speculate on this," he noted. "Now, we have this inquiry about athletics, the international federation will draw its conclusion and will take the necessary measures."

Bach added he had full confidence that new IAAF president Sebastian Coe would take action to clean up the sport.

He also expected Russian officials would comply with all procedures to ensure their athletes compete in Rio.

"We're convinced that the president, Sebastian Coe, will do whatever is necessary," added the German. "I think also Russia will cooperate to make progress and to be sure that Russian athletics are compliant with Wada.

"This is what it needs to be in order to participate in the Olympic Games."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Russia will comply and compete at Rio: Bach'. Print Edition | Subscribe