Russian athletes, cleared to compete at Rio 2016
The World Taekwondo Federation has cleared the Russian team to compete in the upcoming Olympic games.
Amid reports alleging that Russia took part in a massive state-sponsored doping program and cover-up, there was much speculation that the entire country would be banned from
competing in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics at the recommendation of the World Anti-Doping Agency. However, that recommendation was shot down by the International Olympic Committee last week. Instead, the IOC ruled that they would leave it up to the individual international sports federations to determine whether to approve each athlete or ban them based on past doping offences or their involvement in the scandal.
While over 110 out of 387 members of the Russian team have already been handed bans, including six out of 17 cyclists, you can now count Russia’s Taekwondo team among those that will be competing in the Summer Games. As reported by Sportsnet.ca, the head of the Russian Taekwondo Union, Anatoly Terekhov, confirmed to Russian agency R-Sport that he received a letter from the World Taekwondo Federation and that “we were told that all three of our athletes have officially been admitted to compete in the Olympic Games.”
The Taekwondo team joins Russia’s badminton, volleyball, and tennis teams, among others, that have been fully cleared to compete. We await announcements on a few remaining teams. We should have a a definitive answer on the eligibility of the remaining Russian athletes soon as the Russian Olympic Committee has said that they will announce their final line-up on July 30-31, with the Games’ opening ceremonies set to take place on August 5th.
Baryshnikova, Gaun and Denisenko, cleared to compete
All Russian national team’s taekwondo fighters selected for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil should be allowed to compete at the Games, Vadim Ivanov, the head coach of the national taekwondo team, told TASS on Wednesday.
A total of three Russian taekwondo fighters, namely Alexei Denisenko, Albert Gaun and Anastasia Baryshnikova, were selected to represent their country at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“We still have no official information,” Ivanov said in an interview with TASS. “However, the president of the International Taekwondo Federation [ITF] stated earlier that the federation had no claims to our [Russian] athletes whatsoever.”
“The ITF is waiting for response from WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency], but there was no information earlier concerning positive doping tests of our fighters,” Ivanov added.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian law professor, Richard McLaren, released a report on July 18 on the results of its probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
According to the details, the commission claimed it had found evidence that Russia’s Sports Ministry and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service had covered up a doping program in Russian sports.
The report from WADA’s Commission stated in particular that the commission’s investigation registered a total of 643 cases of Disappearing Positive Test Results in Russia between 2012 and 2015 involving athletes from 30 sports.
Following the commission’s report last week, WADA recommended the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all international sports federations ban Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.
After a conference call by its Executive Board on July 24, the IOC urged international federations for winter sports events to suspend preparations for major competitions in Russia. The motion will be in effect until December 31, 2016 and may be reviewed at a December session of the IOC Executive Board.
IOC President Thomas Bach, however, announced on Sunday that Russian athletes, with the exception of field and track competitors, were allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics based on individual approval of each respective international sports federation or association.
His statement followed last Sunday’s teleconference of the IOC Executive Board, which, however, ruled than no Russian athlete, who had been previously sanctioned for doping would be allowed to take part in the Rio Olympics, even if they have served the sanction as well as any athlete mentioned in the McLaren report.