Russia athletics suffers final disgrace as last competitor barred

Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:17pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann and Jack Stubbs

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russian track and field suffered a final humiliation at the Rio Games on Saturday when the sport's governing body suspended long jumper Darya Klishina, removing from competition the nation's only athlete to have so far survived a blanket ban for doping.

The suspension, announced three days before she was due to compete, relates to new evidence uncovered by an anti-doping probe into allegations Russia ran a systematic, state-backed cheating program, said a source familiar with the matter.

Klishina defended herself, saying she was clean and was appealing against the decision to sport's highest tribunal. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it expected to rule on it by Monday, the eve of women's long jump qualifying round.

The 25-year-old had been given an exemption to compete in Rio while the rest of Russia's track and field team were banned from the Games by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in response to the doping allegations.

Ahead of the Games, the IAAF had deemed that the U.S.-based athlete was not involved in the doping program and had been subject to sufficient drug tests outside Russia. But the source said new evidence emerged, prompting the IAAF to pull her exemption.

"We have withdrawn her exceptional eligibility status which enables her to compete in international competitions based on new information that has been received," an IAAF official told Reuters, saying the athlete had been notified last week.

Klishina reacted strongly in a Facebook posting, suggesting she was the victim of a political conspiracy - echoing comments by President Vladimir Putin who has said clean Russian athletes have been targeted by a shadowy plot emanating from the West.

"I am a clean athlete and have proved that already many times and beyond any doubt. Based in the U.S. for three years now, I have been almost exclusively tested outside of the anti-doping system in question," she wrote.   Continued...

Athletics - 58th Brothers Znamensky Memorial track and field meeting - Women's long jump - Meteor Stadium, Zhukovsky, Russia, 4/6/16. Darya Klishina of Russia talks to the media after competing. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo