IOC president confident Russians can compete in Rio

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach is confident that clean Russian athletes will compete in the Olympic Games next year provided objectives set by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) are achieved.

The two organisations held a meeting after the IAAF on Friday provisionally suspended the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) amid allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Russian athletes have been banned from competition following the publication of a report by an independent commission, established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which made allegations of “corruption and bribery” at the highest levels of international athletics.

During an IAAF Council meeting held via teleconference, chaired by president Sebastian Coe, senior officials voted 22-1 to take decisive action.

That has led to talk of Russian athletes potentially being prevented from competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but the ROC has outlined measures to be taken to ensure it does not come to that.

It vowed to tackle the issues mentioned in the independent report and ROC president Alexander Zhukov also reiterated his support for WADA to take charge of anti-doping measures in Russia.

Bach said: “I welcome the fact that the ROC expressed its firm commitment to protect the clean athletes, and to sanction all the doped athletes and officials.

“I appreciated very much the openness of the discussion and welcomed the fact that the Russian Olympic Committee will play the leading role.

“We are confident that the initiatives being proposed by the ROC, with the responsible international organisations, WADA and the IAAF, will ensure compliance as soon as possible in order to provide participation of the clean Russian athletes at the Olympic Games.”

Zhukov said: “The Russian Olympic Committee is determined that the clean athletes should compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Anyone found guilty of using illegal drugs or anyone who facilitated or was complicit in their use must be punished.”