Athletics wants clean Russia back, says Europe chief Hansen
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[March 03, 2017]
By Zoran Milosavljevic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - The track and
field circuit wants Russia to eradicate doping so the country's
athletes can return to action in full force, the head of the
European Athletic Association said on Thursday.
After revelations of widespread doping and corruption, Russian
athletes were banned from international competition by the
International Association of Athletics Federations, and last month
the IAAF said the ban probably would not be lifted before November
of this year.
Meanwhile, the National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) have
called for a blanket ban on Russia from international sport.
But speaking at a media conference before the Friday-Sunday European
Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Svein Arne Hansen, the president
of the European association, said he was convinced the Russians
understood what they needed to do.
"We want Russia back, that is clear," he said. "We are working very
closely on this situation and we had a meeting in Monaco a month
ago. The task force gave their report and they saw progress in
"I see progress in Russia, and I have the feeling that there is a
change of mentality there, especially at the top level. This is the
way to go and I hope they will be back sooner rather than later."
After the NADOs urged Russia's banning, Russian President Vladimir
Putin said on Wednesday the country had never had a state-sponsored
doping program. He acknowledged there had been individual doping
However, the head of an World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into
Russian doping, Richard McLaren, said last year that efforts to
conceal positive drug tests among the country's athletes had become
"an institutionalized and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy".
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A technician holds a test tube with a blood sample at the Russian
anti-doping laboratory in Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
The IAAF ban means any Russian track and field
athletes cleared to compete at international events must do so under
a neutral flag having shown they have been monitored by a bona-fide
anti-doping regime. Only one of them, long jumper Darya Klishina, is
competing in Belgrade.
Hansen stressed that international athletics bodies would maintain
zero tolerance for doping offences.
"We are working under an umbrella giving a strong message from the
athletes that they want to compete with other clean athletes, not
only in our championships but in all other competitions," he said.
"We believe that athletes are committed to follow this, because none
of us would be in sport if we didnít believe in clean sport."
(Editing by Larry King)
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