Coe under pressure to get Russia to Rio: former WADA chief

Thu May 5, 2016 7:31pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound believes world athletics chief Sebastian Coe is under mounting pressure to find a way for suspended Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics.

Pound, who headed the independent commission that unearthed evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics, thinks that time is running out for Russia to get its anti-doping house in order ahead of the Aug. 5-21 Rio Olympics.

A WADA task force has been put in place to overhaul the suspended Russian Anti-Doping Agency but Pound, who two months ago said it appeared Russia was simply "changing deck chairs on the Titanic" still has seen little movement towards compliance.

"They are talking but they are not actually moving," Pound told Reuters. "WADA has a role, my guess is they will not be in position to say that RUSADA is compliant so all the pressure is going to get onto Seb Coe and the IAAF.

"I don't know where they stand with their task force but my guess is there will be lots of pressure on him to find a way to have the Russians in Rio."

Russian athletics must prove it has made enough progress in reforming its anti-doping operation to be re-instated to the sport in time to take part in the Rio Olympics.

The IAAF will hear from its task force headed by Norwegian Rune Andersen at Council meetings on June 17 in Vienna and is expected to make a decision on Russian participation in Rio.

"I don't know where Seb is parked on this but my guess is he will get his advice from the task force that they will share with him a day or two before their meeting on June 17," said Pound.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) former president, Dick Pound, who heads the commission into corruption and doping in athletics, addresses a news conference in Unterschleissheim near Munich, Germany, January 14, 2016. Corruption within the world athletics body IAAF was not a result of renegade individuals' actions but was embedded in the organisation, the head of an independent commission on doping in athletics will say in his report on Thursday, according to the media.   REUTERS/Michael Dalder  - RTX22DXQ