NZ Olympic Committee backs IOC's Russia ban - 'Kiwi athletes have the right to compete on a clean field'




The New Zealand Olympic Committee has fully supported Russia's banning from the 2018 Winter Olympics, believing it delivers a strong anti-doping message.

The IOC has also condemned Russia for manipulating the anti-doping lab at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Source: Breakfast

The Russian Olympic Committee has been blocked from sending a team to the Games in Pyeongchang in February, although some athletes will be allowed to compete in certain circumstances under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia".

The decision was reached after the International Olympic Committee's executive board received a recommendation from a disciplinary commission set up to investigate claims Russia conducted a state-sponsored doping programme that culminated at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

In a statement, the NZOC said the sanctions send a strong message in support of a level playing field for all athletes and protect the integrity of the Olympic movement.

"The level of systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system by Russia, particularly during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, was unprecedented," the statement said.

"New Zealand athletes have the right to compete on a clean field of play and are proud to do so."

The IOC also suspended Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member, given that his membership is linked to his position as president of Russia's Olympic Committee.

No accreditations to the Games would be given to the Russian ministry of sport, the IOC also announced and it gave Vitaly Mutko, former Sports Minister and now Deputy Prime Minister, a life ban from the Olympics.

Mr Mutko is also currently leading preparations for the 2018 soccer World Cup, which is set to be staged in Russia next summer.

In response, Russian state television said it would not broadcast the Games in the absence of Russia's national team.

The IOC's decision comes 18 months after it had refused an outright ban of Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics and told international sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians in Brazil.

While all the track and field athletes bar one and the entire weightlifting team were banned from Rio, about 70 per cent of Russia's original 387-strong squad ended up taking part at those Games.

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