As­so­ci­a­tion want Rus­sia to get back on track

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BEL­GRADE: The track and field cir­cuit wants Rus­sia to erad­i­cate dop­ing so the coun­try’s ath­letes can re­turn to ac­tion in full force, the head of the Euro­pean Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion said on Thurs­day.

Af­ter rev­e­la­tions of wide­spread dop­ing and cor­rup­tion, Rus­sian ath­letes were banned from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions, and last month the IAAF said the ban prob­a­bly would not be lifted be­fore this Novem­ber.

Mean­while, the Na­tional An­tiDop­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tions (NADOs) have called for a blan­ket ban on Rus­sia from in­ter­na­tional sport.

But speak­ing at a media con­fer­ence be­fore the Fri­day-Sun­day Euro­pean In­door Cham­pi­onships in Bel­grade, Svein Arne Hansen, the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean as­so­ci­a­tion, said he was con­vinced the Rus­sians un­der­stood what they needed to do.

“We want Rus­sia back, that is clear,” he said. “We are work­ing very closely on this sit­u­a­tion and we had a meet­ing in Monaco a month ago. The task force gave their report and they saw progress in Rus­sia.

“I see progress in Rus­sia, and I have the feel­ing that there is a change of men­tal­ity there, es­pe­cially at the top level. This is the way to go and I hope they will be back sooner rather than later.”

Af­ter the NADOs urged Rus­sia’s ban­ning, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said on Wed­nes­day the coun­try had never had a state­spon­sored dop­ing pro­gramme. He ac­knowl­edged there had been in­di­vid­ual dop­ing of­fences.

How­ever, the head of an World Anti-Dop­ing Agency in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian dop­ing, Richard McLaren, said last year that ef­forts to con­ceal pos­i­tive drug tests among the coun­try’s ath­letes had be­come “an in­sti­tu­tion­alised and dis­ci­plined medal-win­ning con­spir­acy.”

The IAAF ban means any Rus­sian track and field ath­letes cleared to com­pete at in­ter­na­tional events must do so un­der a neu­tral flag hav­ing shown they have been mon­i­tored by a bonafide anti-dop­ing regime. Only one of them, long jumper Darya Klishina, is com­pet­ing in Bel­grade.

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