Pound: Russia denial could prevent Rio participation


Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound does not expect Russian track and field athletes to compete in the Rio Olympic Games.

The All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) last year accepted a suspension from international competition imposed by the IAAF following allegations of state-sponsored doping made in a report from an independent commission established by WADA.

Russian track and field athletes face the threat of missing the Rio Games this year if Russia is unable to meet conditions regarding its anti-doping operation.

Pound, chair of the WADA independent commission, does not feel the necessary steps are being taken to ensure the ban is lifted.

"Even with the presence of credible evidence, there was, and to some extent there still is a wall of denial," Pound said at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference in London on Wednesday.

"Russia, in the sport of athletics, is on the outside trying to get back in. The onus is on it to justify any readmission.

"It is also clear that opinion is divided on the matter of readmission. The Russians seem to assume that the controversy will disappear and there should be no question regarding their participation in Rio. No question. In other parts of the sporting world there is great resistance to any fast-track solution."

Pound added: "There seems to be some evidence that they're just changing deckchairs on the Titanic.

"We said [to ARAF]: 'Here are some of the findings you are going to be facing. If you want to get back in you have got a steep hill to climb, but if you devote all of your resources and attention to solving the problem instead of solving the report you have got a chance to do it in time for Rio'.

"I don't think they are devoting all their time and energy to where they should be to getting, or where they ought to be. They really have got to address the issues.

"It is a considerable hurdle for them and if the two organisations [WADA and the IAAF] are not satisfied that the clean competitors of the Games are protected then my guess is that they may not make it back for Rio."