AFP – Russia’s Olympic Committee will do all it can to ensure Russian athletes take part in the 2020 Games, its chief said Thursday, as the country faces a four-year doping ban.
“We will do everything in our power to ensure our team is in Tokyo under the Russian flag,” news agency RIA Novosti quoted Stanislav Pozdnyakov as saying.
He said there were no “objective obstacles” to the “vast majority” of Russian athletes fully participating in the Olympics.
The compliance review committee at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday recommended a four-year sporting ban over falsified lab data it received from Russia.
If WADA chiefs adopt the committee’s recommendations at a meeting in Paris on December 9, Russia faces exclusion from key sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The scandal has tainted Russia’s sporting reputation since the revelation of large-scale state-sponsored doping aimed at improving Russia’s medal performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Russian track and field athletes were barred from competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016 although Russians competing in other events were allowed to take part.
The ban was widened to include all events at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, though Russian competitors who could prove they were above suspicion were able to compete as neutrals under the Olympic flag.
Monday’s call from the WADA review panel came after Russian authorities were accused of falsifying laboratory data related to the country’s doping scandal, which were handed over to investigators in January.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it backs “the toughest sanctions against all those responsible for this manipulation,” while cautioning against blanket sanctions that would punish the innocent.
If Russia challenges an eventual suspension by WADA the case will go to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, whose decision will be binding on sports bodies including the International Olympic Committee.