IOC panel to have final say on Russian athletes cleared for Rio
By Karolos Grohmann
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A three-member International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel will have the final say on which Russian athletes can compete at the Rio Games, reviewing all decisions taken by the international federations, the IOC said on Saturday.
The IOC earlier this month set criteria for Russians to be eligible to compete in Rio after revelations of state-backed doping in the country.
They needed to have been tested for drugs outside Russia and have a spotless doping record with no previous bans in order to be cleared by their respective international federations.
All Russian athletes sanctioned for doping in the past have been excluded from the Games.
The IOC panel consists of Ugur Erdener, the IOC's medical commission chairman, Claudia Bokel, head of the athletes commission and fellow IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., vice president of the Modern Pentathlon federation.
The trio will take the final decision once Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitrators have reviewed the cases individually, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters.
"There is not a blanket decision. It is about individual athletes," Adams said. "It is important the IOC takes the final decision based on independent advice."
He said the process would be completed by Friday, the day the Games open.
More than 250 Russian athletes from the original team of 387 have so far been cleared to compete at the Olympics.
However, only one track and field athlete, long jumper Darya Klishina, has been given the green light with the country essentially suspended from the Games in that sport.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)