Lehmann’s Aus­tralia con­tract ex­tended

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

THE in­ter­na­tional sports tri­bunal raced yes­ter­day to de­cide on ap­peals by Rus­sian ath­letes against their ban from the Rio Olympics, with the open­ing cer­e­mony now just three days away.

Swim­mer Yu­lia Efi­mova and wrestler Vik­tor Le­bidev reg­is­tered ap­peals at the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS) tak­ing the to­tal num­ber of Rus­sian chal­lenges to In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee sanc­tions to four, with more still pos­si­ble.

Cases in­volv­ing swim­mers Vladimir Moro­zov and Nikita Lobint­sev, who won medals at the 2008 Bei­jing and 2012 Lon­don Games, were to be com­pleted yes­ter­day when the hear­ing of Efi­mova, who took bronze in the 200m breast­stroke in Lon­don, was set to be­gin.

Seven Rus­sian swim­mers were banned from Rio by FINA after the IOC or­dered sport­ing fed­er­a­tions to ex­clude any Rus­sian com­peti­tors im­pli­cated in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s dop­ing scan­dals by Cana­dian lawyer Richard McLaren.

McLaren’s re­port for the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) said there was a state-or­gan­ised dop­ing scheme in Rus­sia, with the se­cret ser­vice help­ing the sports min­istry to ma­nip­u­late sam­ples.

At least 117 of the 387 com­peti­tors Rus­sia planned to send to Rio have been ex­cluded.

There have been sub­se­quent re­crim­i­na­tions over who is to blame for the huge dop­ing con­tro­versy, which was re­vealed in a Ge­man tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary in 2014 and is now cast­ing a shadow over the Rio Games.

IOC pres­i­dent Thomas Bach re­jected sug­ges­tions at a press con­fer­ence that the chaos rep­re­sented a “huge fail­ure” for the IOC.

“The IOC is not re­spon­si­ble for the tim­ing of the McLaren re­port,” he said in a veiled at­tack on WADA, which first be­gan re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion from Rus­sian anti-dop­ing agency whistle­blower Vi­taly Stepanov in 2010.

Bach pointed out that the IOC was not re­spon­si­ble for the ac­cred­i­ta­tion or su­per­vi­sion of anti-dop­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries in Rus­sia. But he in­sisted the dop­ing scan­dal would not taint Rio.

Three IOC ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers have been named to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion on which Rus­sian ath­letes will com­pete in Rio once the in­di­vid­ual fed­er­a­tions have made their lists.

The IOC said the Rus­sian team will be fi­nalised be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony at the Rio Olympic sta­dium on Au­gust 5.

The Rio Games has also faced crit­i­cism over the state of the ath­letes’ vil­lage and the readi­ness of venues (see re­lated sto­ries, page 23).

Bach said that fol­low­ing his ar­rival on July 28 he went straight to the ath­letes vil­lage to see the con­di­tions where hun­dreds of plum­bers have been work­ing on wa­ter pipes fol­low­ing complaints from some teams.

Mean­while, a metro line link­ing the cen­tre of Rio to the Olympic zone opened yes­ter­day, but it will only be used by ath­letes and Olympic of­fi­cials be­cause not enough full scale tests have been car­ried out.

The metro passes by Gua­n­abara Bay, in the shadow of Rio’s iconic Su­gar­loaf Moun­tain where the sail­ing events will be held. Daily pol­lu­tion tests on the wa­ter are still be­ing held while spe­cial boats are haul­ing out de­bris that flows in from Rio.

“There will be, as al­ways be some last-minute chal­lenges,” said the IOC leader.

He added that the Brazil­ian au­thor­i­ties had acted quickly in re­cent months and “we are more con­fi­dent than ever that we will have a great Olympic Games a la Brazil”.

The Games, with an es­ti­mated 10,500 ath­letes, be­gins on Au­gust 5 and will end on the 21st. – CRICKET Aus­tralia an­nounced yestr­er­day it has ex­tended the con­tract of head coach Dar­ren Lehmann un­til Oc­to­ber 2019 to keep him in place dur­ing the next Ashes series and world cup.

Lehmann’s con­tract was due to ex­pire in June next year. CA said it has been ex­tended to cover the 2017-18 Ashes series in Aus­tralia and the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in Eng­land and Wales.

Since Lehmann’s ap­point­ment in 2013, he has taken Aus­tralia’s Test and one-day teams to the top world rank­ing, won a home Ashes series 5-0, beat South Africa in a Test series away from home and won last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup.

“2019 is such a big year for Aus­tralian cricket and we wanted cer­tainty and sta­bil­ity for the play­ing group, with both the coach and as­sis­tant coach con­tracted, as we build to­wards the Ashes series and the 2019 World Cup,” CA’s ex­ec­u­tive gen­eral man­ager Pat Howard said in a state­ment.

“Dar­ren has had great suc­cess in the role and he and the na­tional se­lec­tion panel de­serve a huge amount of credit for tak­ing a rel­a­tively young side to num­ber one in the world in two of the three for­mats.

“The com­mit­ment he shows to the role goes far broader than that of the Aus­tralian men’s team and ex­tends into the global sup­port of the game through his work on the ICC Cricket Com­mit­tee.”

Lehmann said he was look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenges.

“I am in­cred­i­bly grate­ful for the sup­port and faith the Cricket Aus­tralia Board and the play­ers have put in me,” he said.

“I ab­so­lutely love do­ing this job and as far as I am concerned it is the best job in the world.

“There is still a lot I would like to achieve in the time I have left and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us, es­pe­cially with an up­com­ing Test series in In­dia and a home Ashes series.”

Photo: AFP

Rus­sia’s Vera Re­brik com­petes in the women’s javelin throw fi­nal at “Stars of 2016”, a track and field meet held by Rus­sia’s ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion on July 28 for ath­letes banned from the Rio Olympics.

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