Russian athletes banned from Rio Olympics

IAAF votes to extend sanctions against Russia over continued use of illegal doping

Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at a news conference after a council meeting in Vienna, Austria. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/EPA

Russian athletes have been banned from taking part in the Olympic Games in Rio later this summer, over their continued use of illegal doping.

The IAAF – the governing body of world athletics – on Friday voted unanimously to extend its ban on the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) from all competitions.

The ban was first imposed last November after extensive evidence of Russian doping practices which were said to have "sabotaged" the London Olympic Games four years ago, where Russia won 18 athletics medals, eight of them gold.

However, the ban doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any Russian athletes in Rio.


Clean athletes

The IAAF did leave a "crack in the door" for clean athletes, according to its president, Sebastian Coe, if they "can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other, effective anti-doping systems".

In such cases they will be allowed to compete in Rio, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete.

The Russian sports ministry has already announced it is “extremely disappointed” by the IAAF decision.

Athletics Ireland chief executive John Foley said the decision is appropriate.

“In our view, it’s a positive step for the sport along the journey to retrieving the reputation of athletics.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics