Russia had it coming – Ramsamy
IOC’s support of IAAF decision to ban athletes gives them no chance of competing under country’s flag
Russian track and field athletes’ chances of taking part in the Rio Olympics took a further nosedive yesterday when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) came out in support of the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) decision to uphold the country’s athletics suspension.
In a statement released yesterday, the IOC said it “fully respects” the ruling.
The statement further read that “the eligibility of athletes in any international competition, including the Olympic Games, is a matter for the respective international federation”.
South African-based IOC committee member Dr Sam Ramsamy told City Press: “Russia has had it coming since last year, as they ignored all warnings to adhere to Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) regulations.
“The IAAF is well within their rights and is correct in suspending them.”
Ramsamy said “clean” and “innocent” athletes would be eligible to compete, but not under the Russian flag, only as “independent” athletes.
“The IOC is not in the business of punishing clean athletes, but to protect them from unfair competition,” said the Durban-based veteran sports administrator.
The UK’s Guardian yesterday reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had reacted publicly for the first time at a press conference. He was quoted as saying: “Of course that is unjust and unfair.
“There are universally recognised principles of law and one of them is that the responsibility should be always personified – if some of the members of your family have committed a crime, would it be fair to hold all the members of the family liable, including you? That is not how it’s done.
“The people who have nothing to do with violations, why should they suffer for those who committed the violations? That actually does not go into the framework of civilised behaviour.”
He went further: “I hope that we will be able to find some solution here, but of course that does not mean we are going to be offended and say we are not going to fight doping. No. We will make the doping fight fiercer.
“What is considered to be doping? Doping is medicine that gives you advantage in competing. Meldonium does not give this advantage – it just keeps your heart muscle healthy during the extreme loads, and for many years it was not considered to be doping.
“But everyone has known that meldonium was invented in the territory of the Soviet Union; it was taken only by athletes from Eastern European countries – everyone knew that well.”
All this follows Friday’s IAAF decision to uphold the suspension of Russian track and field athletes taken in November.
The decision means they will be ineligible to partake at the Rio Games in August.
Also, the city of Rio de Janeiro on Friday announced an “economic state of emergency” with acting governor Francisco Dornelles saying a “serious economic crisis” could lead to Rio not being able to meet all its obligations with regards to the Games.
The city is covering most of the expenses while the Brazilian government is responsible for transport and policing, among other things.
The country’s acting president, Michel Temer, has promised financial aid.
According to the Brazilians, the cause of the crisis is a shortage in tax from especially the oil industry.
In addition, the Brazilian economy is currently experiencing a serious recession.
Wada had been the first to welcome the IAAF’s decision to uphold the suspension imposed on the Russian federation last November after a comprehensive investigation by the anti-doping body laid bare the South Africa – (3) 32
Ireland – (19) 26
The Springboks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when they came back from a hapless first-half display to beat Ireland in the second test in Johannesburg last night.
They did just enough to level the three-match series at one test each. The series will now be decided next week with a mouth-watering clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
After last week’s embarrassing 20-26 loss in the first test at Newlands, few people could have predicted that the Boks could perform worse than they did. However, that is exactly what happened in the first half last night. The Boks were shocking in the first 40 minutes. There was simply no other way to describe their inept display.
It was arguably the poorest first-half performance from a Springbok team in the history of the game. It was so bad that the 60 000 spectators at Ellis Park showed their displeasure by booing the Boks off as they ran off at the field at half-time.
One wonders what Bok coach Allister Coetzee said to his players at the break. He was left with no option but to ring the changes. He brought on home town favourites Warren Whiteley and Ruan Combrinck in place of Duane Vermeulen and Lwazi Mvovo, respectively. After the Boks came under the pump in the scrums, he also decided to replace his props Frans Malherbe and Beast Mtawarira with Julian Redelinghuys and Trevor Nyakane.
Willie le Roux’s tactical kicking was not accurate enough especially in the first half. The captaincy initially also left a lot to be desired. Adriaan Strauss decided to go for the option of a line-out in the corner instead of taking the three points on offer. The Boks didn’t execute properly and the opportunity was missed. Strauss also made numerous errors with ball in hand. It seemed as if the pressure of the captaincy affected the quality of his play.
In contrast, the Irish made full use of their opportunities. The Irish bombarded the Boks with high balls, especially left winger Lwazi Mvovo, who had a nightmare. Ireland’s first score, by beanpole lock forward Devin Toner, came directly as a result of a mistake by Mvovo.
The Boks then gave it their all. They left it really late, but finally found rhythm and cohesion. Tries by replacement winger Combrinck – named man of the match – as well as number 8 Whiteley and powerful centre Damian de Allende were just enough. The 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games 800m gold medallist was going to be Caster Semenya’s main rival in Rio. However, she and Ekaterina Poistogova are among the medal-winning athletes from Russia who have been accused of doping.
SPARKING A COMEBACK Ruan Combrinck dives over for his first test try in the test last night in Joburg. The winger was named man of the match