20 Jul 2016

NZOC backs athletes calling for Russia ban

8:13 am on 20 July 2016

The New Zealand Olympic Committee is standing by all of the New Zealand Olympic athletes who have called for a complete ban on Russia and encourages them to make the views known.

NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith.

NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith. Photo: Photosport

The head of the NZOC, Kereyn Smith, said they endorse the athletes, such as Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale, who've publicly called for a blanket ban on Russia from next month's Rio games.

"At the end of the day it's the athletes, clean athletes, who have been the people who have missed out on titles, or their moment in the sun or medals or whatever it might be and we're certainly supportive of our athletes taking a really tough stance in that regard."

Smith said the NZOC reiterated their stance to the International Olympic Committee that they should take the strongest possible sanctions against Russia and that they support the IOC as they explore legal options for banning Russia from next month's Rio Games.

At an emergency IOC meeting in Switzerland, following an independent report that detailed a systematic and state-run doping programme in Russia, members fell short of an immediate blanket ban but they haven't yet ruled one out.

"With regard to the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the IOC will carefully evaluate the IP Report," a statement said.

"The IOC will explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice."

It added that the committee would have to take into consideration the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision due later this week concerning the IAAF rules, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code and the Olympic Charter.

CAS is due to rule on the dispute between Russia, 68 of its athletes and the governing body of world athletics over their Rio participation after the IAAF banned the country from the Rio track and field programme.

The NZOC is also eagerly awaiting the upcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport decision on the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) wholesale sanctioning of the Russian Athletics Federation, which should prove pivotal in whether Russia is given a wholesale ban from Rio.