- Russian track-and-field team could miss 2016 Rio Olympics
- IAAF President Coe says Russia given 'toughest sanction'
The Russian Olympic Committee pledged Saturday to sanction officials, coaches and athletes implicated in a doping scandal as it seeks to ensure its track and field team can compete in the 2016 games in Brazil after an international athletics body provisionally suspended it from competitions.
The International Association of Athletics Federations approved sanctions against the All-Russia Athletic Federation in a 22-to-1 vote on Friday, according to a website statement. The action bars Russia from competitions, including the Olympics, for an unspecified period until an independent inspection team rules it has cleaned up its program.
“The Russian Olympic Committee is determined that the clean athletes should compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” President Alexander Zhukov said in a statement after meeting with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. “Anyone found guilty of using illegal drugs or anyone who facilitated or was complicit in their use must be punished.”
Russian athletics are facing the unprecedented punishment after the World Anti-Doping Agency found “systematic” attempts by athletes, coaches, doctors and Russia’s Federal Security Service to falsify doping test results. President Vladimir Putin ordered an internal investigation into the charges and told officials to collaborate with international agencies.
“Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in the statement. “This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated.”
Russia has also been stripped of hosting the race walking championships in Cheboksary and the junior championships in Kazan, two international competitions that were scheduled next year.
The Russian committee, with the backing of the IOC, will coordinate all efforts to reform the athletics federation and will sanction all officials, athletes and coaches involved in doping, according to the joint statement Saturday.