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Olympic committee will not ban all Russian athletes after doping scandal

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday ruled that it will not ban all Russian athletes from next month’s competition in Brazil following a doping scandal that has already caused the country’s track and field team to be disqualified.

“Russian athletes who participated in different competitions in all sports have submitted more than 3,000 doping samples,” the committee said in a statement released online following Sunday’s ruling. “The vast majority of the results were negative.”

Acrobats perform on the Olympics rings at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo's financial center, Brazil, July 24, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker - RTSJEYP

Acrobats perform on the Olympics rings at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo’s financial center, Brazil, July 24, 2016. Photo By Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

The question of whether to ban Russian athletes less than two weeks before the start of the international competition came after a scathing independent report found widespread evidence of doping among Russian athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, a city in their home country.

The World Anti-Doping Agency subsequently called for prohibiting Russian athletes from international competitions, including the Olympics.

“The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the agency, said in a statement.

Officials from the committee said they will instead defer a decision on which Russian athletes should be prohibited from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio to 28 individual global sports federations. The prospect still leaves open the possibility that more Russian athletes could be banned.

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday say it would require all Russian athletes who took part in the Sochi Olympics to be re-tested, according to Reuters, while also doling out a decision to disqualify any Russian who had ever tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

“We have set the bar to the limit by establishing a number of very strict criteria which every Russian athlete will have to fulfill if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games Rio 2016,” said Thomas Bach, the committee’s president. “I think in this way, we have balanced on the one hand, the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete.”

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