Blanket ban on dope-tainted nations 'unjust': Olympians
(Reuters) - The World Olympians Association (WOA) has called blanket bans on competitors from doping-tainted nations "unjust" and called for urgent action to ensure clean athletes are allowed to participate in major sporting events.
The Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) was suspended last month following a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) independent commission that exposed widespread, systematic state-sponsored doping and related corruption.
Russian athletes are therefore set to miss the world indoor athletics championships in the United States in March and face a race against time to be cleared to compete in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.
The WOA, without mentioning Russia specifically, released a statement supporting the rights of clean athletes.
"We believe banning clean athletes is unjust and that sport and its many fans will ultimately pay the price as they will miss the opportunity to see their clean heroes compete at the highest level," WOA President Joel Bouzou said in a statement on the body's website (olympians.org/).
"The individual rights of clean athletes should also be respected as well as their right to train and to compete in the sport that they love.
"One thing is clear: an urgent solution is needed for athletes who are seeking to qualify for and participate in major events allowing them to train, prepare and compete with certainty," the statement said.
The WOA was established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1994 to represent those who have competed at Games.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last Friday published a long and detailed list of criteria that the Russians must satisfy before the ban imposed is lifted. Continued...