Suffolk Olympians want Russia banned from Rio Olympics
- Credit: PA
Two Suffolk Olympians have called for a complete ban on all Russian athletes from this summer’s Olympic Games after the true extent of the country’s doping scandal shame came to light this week.
With the start of the Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, now just two weeks away, the integrity of the institution itself has been thrown into turmoil with the confirmation that 68 Russian track and field athletes have had bans upheld following independent reports of a country-run state-sponsored doping programme.
However, despite the decision, enforced by the International Olympic Committee and upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport yesterday, following a failed appeal by the Russian Olympic Committee, the ruling has been deemed not strong enough, with many calling for a complete ban on Russia competing in Rio.
“With so much evidence of systematic state cheating coming to light, I can’t see how you can’t ban the nation as whole,” said Newmarket-raised javelin thrower Goldie Sayers who was denied a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after finishing fourth, behind Russia’s Mariya Abakumova, who won the silver medal before testing positive as part of the recent scandal.
“In one way I always had my suspicions about the Russian athletes but it wasn’t our place to accuse them of wrongdoing.
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“The only option for me now is a complete blanket ban on all their athletes.
“The scandal has ruined the ideology and integrity of what the Olympics stands for, harsher action has to be taken.”
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And while reported calls from a dozen national anti-doping organisations to immediately suspend the Russian Olympic Committee and provisionally ban all Russian athletes from Rio have not been heeded as yet, Olympic discus thrower and life vice president of Suffolk Sport, Bill Tancred, echoed Sayers’ plea for a stricter punishment.
“If it was up to me I would ban them all,” he said. “They have tarnished the Games themselves, a strict precedent needs to be set and they need to be made an example of.
“That trust has been completely damaged for me because their reputation has been destroyed.
“They have denied clean athletes the chance to stand on the podium, which can never be replaced, and as a result they have to be punished more severely for that.”
- Read more from Goldie Sayers in today’s EADT