International Olympic Committee Questions Eligibility of Russian, Kenyan Athletes

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After months of deliberation, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) handed down a decision last week to ban Russian track and field athletes from competing in the Rio Olympic games due to doping allegations.

Now, the Associated Press reports that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is calling for comprehensive testing of all Russian and Kenyan athletes for performance enhancing drugs due to “inadequate doping controls” in the two countries.

“The Olympic summit considers the ‘presumption of innocence’ of athletes from these countries being put seriously into question,” said Olympic leaders in a statement. “As a result, every [international sport federation] should take a decision on the eligibility of such athletes on an individual basis to ensure a level playing field in their sport.”

The committee called for each leader of the international sports federations to enforce measures for their athletes to test clean by Aug. 5.

Russia is not pleased with the IAAF’s decision and said it will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “We consider it unfair on the vast majority of our athletes who have never doped and have not violated any criteria,” said Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov. “They will be punished for the sins of others.”

“We are one of the most tested nations. We are ready for the new requirement (of testing our athletes) because we support clean athletics,” the BBC quoted a Kenyan government spokesman as saying.

While the IAFF stated it would consider allowing Russian athletes who trained outside of their home country to compete as independents, the IOC said athletes would compete under the Russian flag as long as they test clean.

In light of the all of the doping allegations that have plagued this year’s games, the summit also called for a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) hosted international conference to discuss what can be done to fix the problem. “It has to be more transparent,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “Everybody has to understand better who is doing what and who is responsible for what and this needs a full review.”

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