Russia proposes its athletes compete under Russian Olympic flag to evade ban

Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:15pm EST
 
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By Maria Kiselyova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Sunday it would ask the world athletics body to allow its athletes to compete under an Olympic banner rather than the Russian flag to circumvent a ban, but the idea was quickly brushed aside by the International Olympic Committee.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on Friday following allegations of widespread and state-sponsored doping.

Russia has since announced a three-month road map to clean up its act, with the nation's Olympic Committee leading efforts to ensure honest athletes can compete at the 2016 Olympics.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said his ministry would ask the Russian Olympics Committee (ROC) to apply to the IAAF and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to request that Russian athletes compete under an ROC flag.

"I hope the IAAF will consider our application that over the next three months while the membership of the Russian Athletics Federation is suspended, our athletes could compete in international contests under the flag of the ROC, our national Olympic Committee," he told a news conference.

Some Russian athletes have already suggested they could compete at the 2016 Olympics as independents under the Olympic flag.

The IOC has previously allow independents to compete at Olympic Games in certain cases, such as when an athlete's home country is in transition or subject to sanctions.

But asked on Sunday if Russian athletes could possibly compete under the Olympic flag, IOC President Thomas Bach said: "This is total speculation, I cannot see this situation occurring at this moment."   Continued...

 
Acting president of the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Vadim Zelichenok speaks during a meeting with journalists at his office in Moscow, Russia, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov