Olympics: Russians could be stripped by kit supplier Asics if more drug cheats exposed

Russia's Aniuar Geduev (in blue Asics kit) will be part of his country's 16-man wrestling team to compete in Rio de Janeiro next week, after they were cleared by United World Wrestling.
Russia's Aniuar Geduev (in blue Asics kit) will be part of his country's 16-man wrestling team to compete in Rio de Janeiro next week, after they were cleared by United World Wrestling.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • A leading kit manufacturer has threatened to stop supplying Russian athletes if more drug cheats are unmasked.

Just days before the Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro, Asics has reacted to the revelations of state-sponsored doping by saying that it would review the deal under which it provides kit for Russia's wrestling team.

"While United World Wrestling - the world governing body for wrestling - continues to allow clean Russian athletes to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games, as official kit supplier to the Russian Wrestling Federation, Asics will continue to support its athletes by providing footwear and apparel," the Japanese company said.

"Should Asics be made aware of any further allegations of doping in the lead-up to, or during, the Games we will then review the situation."

Viktor Lebedev, who won gold at the World Championships in 2010 and 2011, had been among the favourites for a medal in wrestling's 57kg freestyle division after winning gold at the European Games last year.

He was banned from next week's competition in Rio because of a failed drug test at the 2006 World Junior Championship.

Six of Russia's 17-strong cycling team have also been withdrawn. Three had previously failed drug tests, while another three were implicated in a doping scandal. The other 11 cyclists were cleared to compete, as were 16 wrestlers.

The Badminton World Federation cleared Russia to compete, saying that the players had been subject to a rigorous drug-testing programme in the lead-up to the Games.

The bans brought the total of Russian athletes barred from Rio to 115 from an original team of 387.

Boxing, golf, gymnastics, handball, taekwondo and weightlifting have yet to declare on competing athletes.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Russians could be stripped by kit supplier Asics'. Print Edition | Subscribe