Athletics : U.S. medal hopefuls wish Russians were in Rio

Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:29pm EDT
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By Gene Cherry

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Americans Sam Kendricks and Devon Allen are disappointed Russian athletes will not be joining them in the Rio Olympics.

Allegations of state-sponsored doping led the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to ban the entire Russian athletics team from the Games.Both pole vaulter Kendricks and hurdler Allen said on Thursday they wished that was not the case.

"I am certainly unhappy that several of my Russian friends were not able to compete," said Kendricks, a reservist in the U.S. Army who, like Allen, is projected to win a medal at the Games.

"I have no doubt in their ability to compete fairly. But that's just the nature of the beast this year."

While other international federations chose to decide on a case by case basis whether Russians competitors could participate in Rio, the IAAF maintained its ban on the Russian athletics federation.

"I can only express that I am kinda disappointed that this issue didn't come to light sooner so that the clean athletes could shine through," Kendricks said.

The second-ranked pole vaulter in the world this year behind French world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, Kendricks said he understood it is a process athletics and other sports must go through to help clean up doping.

"More light on this issue makes it so that everybody is held to the same standard," he said.   Continued...

Jul 22, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Sam Kendricks (USA) places second in the pole vault at 19-1 1/2 (5.83m) in the London Anniversary Games during an IAAF Diamond League meet at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports