Russia welcomes IOC stance as IAAF offers help


Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko expects the majority of his country's athletes to compete in Rio after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opted not to impose a blanket ban following a doping scandal.

Russian competitors were expected to be barred from attending next month's Games after revelations of a state-sponsored performance-enhancing drug program, which has tainted the results of athletes from the country in numerous sports during recent years.

However, the IOC on Sunday announced each would-be competitor must apply to the respective international federation governing individual sports to prove their innocence and secure a place in Brazil.

Hours later the International Tennis Federation cleared all seven Russian players to compete in Rio, with the IOC's decision already drawing widespread criticism.

Mutko, though, welcomed the outcome.

"Russia is committed to fight for cleanliness of Olympic sport," he told a media conference. "We are not going to give special protection to anyone.

"I'm sure the majority of our team will comply [and] produce good results in Rio."

United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart issued a stinging criticism of the IOC's stance.

"Disappointingly ... the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership," he said in a statement.

"The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.

"It is so frustrating in this incredibly important moment, they would pass the baton to sports federations who may lack the adequate expertise or collective will to appropriately address the situation within the short window prior to the Games. The conflict of interest is glaring."

The IAAF meanwhile offered to lend its expertise to other federations, having already opted to ban Russian track and field competitors from Rio, a move upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following a Russian Olympic Committee appeal last week.

"Following the decision made today by the IOC to allow individual sporting governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors can take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the IAAF - as the first sports federation to have been through this course of action - is ready to offer assistance to other international federations going through this process," the statement read.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe added: "We have created and been through the process. We know how hard it is emotionally and rationally to get the process right. I have offered the help of the IAAF team to ASOIF [Association of Summer Olympic International Federations] and we continue to stand by to assist and offer advice to any international sports federations."