IOC backs Russian ban but some athletes may compete
Geneva, June 22 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has backed the ban on Russian track and field athletes by the IAAF but said individual athletes can be cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics under their own flag.
The IOC and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have different opinions over the terms of participation of any Russian athlete cleared to compete at the August 5-21 Games, reports Xinhua.
While upholding the IOC's decision to ban Russia's track team for systematic doping, IOC officials did not accept the federation's position on a key issue: that a neutral flag would represent the few athletes given dispensation to apply to compete if they live outside Russia and have undergone rigorous testing.
IOC President Thomas Bach said if any Russians were deemed eligible by the IAAF, they would compete under the Russian flag.
"If there are athletes qualified, then they will compete as members of the team of the Russian Olympic Committee because only a national Olympic committee can enter athletes to the Olympic Games," Bach said.
"There are no teams of international federations there. And the Russian Olympic Committee is not suspended."
However, the IAAF said on Tuesday that it would "now work with the IOC to ensure the decision is respected and implemented in full".