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IOC unlikely to overturn Russia ban, says IOC chief Coates

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is unlikely to overturn world athletics’ ban on the Russian track and field team at the Rio de Janeiro Games, IOC vice-president John Coates said yesterday.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Friday unanimously upheld its ban on Russian athletes competing at international competitions due to state-sponsored doping.

Russia has cried foul over the ban and President Vladimir Putin said he hoped for an “appropriate response” from the IOC.

Coates said he would be “very, very surprised” if the IOC moved to overturn the ban at a summit on Tuesday in Lausanne, where the Olympic body is due to discuss the matter more thoroughly.

“It’s an international federation’s right to suspend a national federation and I don’t think we would overturn that at all,” Coates, one of the IOC’s most powerful officials, told reporters in Melbourne.

Athletes’ hope

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said on Friday his governing body had the last word on athletes’ eligibility to compete at international events.

Last week, Coates described Russia’s anti-doping and athletics authorities as “rotten to the core” but offered some hope that individual Russian athletes might compete at Rio if they could show sufficient evidence that they were clean.

He said that the International Olympic Committee summit in Switzerland may “set some guidelines” on how such athletes might have recourse to appeal the blanket ban.

Coates, also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said the national body supported the ban.

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