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Doping Ban On Russia Extended By IAAF

The world governing body of athletics, the IAAF, has extended doping ban on the Russian track and field team until at least November, extending a ban that was first imposed in November 2015.

The extension of ban by the International Association of Athletics Federations means Russian track and field athletes would not be able to compete at the 2017 World Championships in August though there is a slight possibility that some  "neutral" athletes may be competing.

World champion high jumper Maria Kuchina expressed anguish at the extension. Maria remarked the ban has hit us very painfully and added it is very sad, not right and not fair for the clean athletes, but we are not giving up. The high jumper was part of the Olympic track team of Russia that was denied the right to compete in Rio de Janeiro after evidence of a massive, state-sponsored program for performance enhancing drugs was found by an investigation. The 24-year-old faces a second straight year barred from international competition because of the scandalous doping record of her country.

All-Russian Athletics Federation first vice-president Andrei Silnov remarked that there was nothing as a state-backed Russian doping program. Silnov commented that there are no facts there, just assertions, and we are gradually proving that it is not a state structure, a system, that kind of thing. A former Olympic high jump champion, Silnov remarked the world governing body of athletics was unfairly slowing down the reinstatement of Russia. Silnov also questioned comments made by some Russian whistleblowers that doping was and is rampant in the country.

Former World record-holder Igor Ter-Ovanesyan provided "fuel" by justifying doping. Igor remarked the steroid-fueled successes of German athletes during the Cold Ware should be seen as legitimate products of "good pharmacology" and must not be condemned as doping. The claim of Igor was not challenged by Silnov. The "close ties" of Russian administrators and doping were further revealed when Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko admitted that there were many abuses and breaches. Mutko added athletes broke the rules and many coaches don't understand how to work without doping and it is high time for them to retire.

The IAAF taskforce leader Rune Andersen criticized Mutko on Monday because of his often-colorful criticism of anti-doping rulings against Russia. Anderson added Russia needs to fulfil certain conditions before it can be fully reinstated. The IAAF taskforce leader said there had been positive and negative developments in meetings in Moscow in the recent past. Andersen added the “unhelpful comments” by Vitaly Mutko did no good to the cause of Russia for reinstatement.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe remarked our priority is to return clean athletes to competition but we must all have confidence in the process. Coe added clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system and further commented that we must ensure they are protected and that those safeguards give confidence to the rest of the world that there is a level playing field of competition when Russians return.

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Albert Wolfgang
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