Russia to bar athletes with doping offences from Rio

The Russian athletics federation said in a statement on Tuesday that any athlete found to have used performance enhancing drugs in previous years would be barred from competing at the Rio Olympics.

"Any potential participant in the Olympic Games caught using doping in previous years cannot be a member of Russia's national team at Rio," the federation said.   -  AP

Russia's Olympic Committee (ROC) said Tuesday that 14 of its athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics had been found positive for doping in new tests of their samples given during the Games.

"14 Russian athletes in three disciplines gave a positive result," the ROC said in a statement, a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that 31 athletes from 12 countries had failed doping tests after new analysis of samples taken from the Beijing Games.

ROC said that the names of the athletes, according to the disciplinary rules, would not be made public until a second set of control samples had also been tested.

Russia's Match TV channel reported the names of the athletes as including 10 Olympic medallists. One, Yulia Chermoshanskaya, won gold as part of the 4x100 metre relay team, while four won silver.

Among those listed was bronze medallist high jumper Anna Chicherova, who is likely to compete in this summer Rio Olympics if Russia takes part.

Chicherova did not answer a request for comment from AFP.

Sports minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency that the names of the athletes should not have been released because a second control sample still needs to be tested.

"It's a sensitive topic, why someone does this, I don't know," he said, while not denying the list was correct.

"It's wrong to name names if a person could be found not guilty," he said.

The Russian athletics federation said in a statement on Tuesday that it would bar any athlete found to have used doping in previous years from competing at Rio.

"Any potential participant in the Olympic games caught using doping in previous years cannot be a member of Russia's national team at Rio," the federation said.

It said it had submitted this amendment to its selection criteria on May 20 "so that clean athletes can take part in the 2016 Olympic Games."

The ROC statement came as Russia is reeling from damning accusations by the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov.

He told the New York Times of a systematic state-organised scheme to get round anti-doping rules, including at least 15 medallists at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and involving the sports ministry and the FSB security service.

The Russian athletics doping scandal was brought to light by whistleblowers, including runner Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitaly Stepanov, a former employee of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, who prompted WADA to investigate their shocking allegations about the prevalence of doping in Russian athletics.

The world athletics governing body IAAF next month is set to rule whether to lift Russia's provisional suspension from Rio over evidence of state-sponsoring doping in Russian athletics.