Gymnastics body concerned over possible blanket ban of Russia at Rio
Geneva, July 18 (IANS) The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) voiced its concern on Monday regarding a possible blanket ban for Russia from its participation in the Olympic Games starting on August 5.
European Olympic Committee (EOC) President Patrick Hickey, as well as some foreign media sources, announced last week that a letter calling to introduce a blanket ban for Russian athletes had been sent to a number of sports organisations and federations as well as sports officials, reports Tass.
"The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is concerned about the increasing number of officials asking for a blanket ban of Russian athletes to participate at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio," FIG said in its statement.
"Whilst FIG fully supports the IOC's policy of "Zero Tolerance in Doping", it strongly feels that not all Russian athletes of all sports should be banned and found guilty for actions in other sports and federations," the statement added.
"Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline athletes cannot be judged based on other sports. Before any actions are taken against FIG's athletes, facts must be presented and doping offenses must be proven.
"FIG's Russian gymnasts have been subject to controls equal to those of our other leading gymnastics federations. Clean Russian gymnasts must therefore be allowed to compete at the Games."
Later on Monday, the WADA Independent Commission chaired by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren is scheduled to release a report on alleged anti-doping violations, presumably supervised at a government level, by the hosting country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, reports Tass.
The report will be crucial for the whole Russian national Olympic squad, which is currently in full preparations for the 2016 Olympics wich will run till August 21.
Commenting on the situation at the issue, FIG President Bruno Grandi said: "The rights of every individual athlete must be respected. Participation at the Olympic Games is the highest goal of athletes who often sacrifice their entire youth to this aim.
"The right to participate at the Games cannot be stolen from an athlete, who has duly qualified and has not be found guilty of doping," Grandi added.
"Blanket bans have never been and will never be just."