Russia has already done enough to meet anti-doping standards dictated by world athletics’ governing body and reclaim its place at the Rio Olympics this summer, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko Friday (11 March).
Speaking shortly after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) declined to lift a doping ban, Mutko said Russia had done everything it was asked to and the IAAF criteria were unclear.
“There are no criteria today. What should the Russian athletics do? Dance on the table, or sing a song? I don’t know what it should do, you see? If we are told: ‘You should elect new leadership for the Athletics Federation.’ Ok, we’ve done that. ‘You should not elect as its president or member of the presidium anyone who has ever worked there’. Ok, we did that. ‘You should put together a list of athletes, potential members of the national team who may ever compete in the international competitions.’ OK, please, here are two hundred athletes,” Mutko told Reuters.
“Give us guarantees that during these six months before the Olympics you will test them no less than three times and pay for it, but you will not carry out actual tests, but those people we will appoint – we’ve promised that. What else should we do? Explain it to me. We are told You have not yet made enough progress in this issue.” Which issue?” Mutko added.
The IAAF said earlier on Friday Russia had “significant work to do” before it was reinstated after a report by the World Anti-doping Agency exposed widespread cheating and corruption in Russian athletics last year, igniting the country’s biggest sporting scandal in several decades
IAAF president Sebastian Coe suggested a final decision would be taken in May, while Mutko said the “point of no return” for Russian athletes hoping to compete in Rio was mid-July.
As things stand, Russian athletes will be barred from competing at the Rio Olympics, a humiliating blow to the reputation of an superpower where sporting success is seen as integral to national pride.