31 July 2016
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) set up a three-member panel on Saturday to make a final decision on the eligibility of Russians to compete at the upcoming Games in Rio de Janeiro.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that the panel would make a final ruling on each athlete after a group of judges from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has had a look at the Russians put forward by the respective sports federations.
“This panel will decide whether to accept or reject that final proposal by CAS. We must make the final decision,’’ Adams said.
The panel, decided upon by the IOC executive board, is made up of its members Ugur Erdener of Turkey and head of the IOC’s Medical Commission; Athletics Commission chair Claudia Bokel of Germany; and Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain.
They are set to make their decisions before Friday’s opening ceremony.
The IOC on July 24 decided against a blanket ban on Russian athletes in connection with allegations of widespread, state-sponsored doping.
Instead, the IOC deferred decisions on the participation of Russian athletes to the sports federations.
Adams said that Russian whistle blower Yulia Stepanova remained banned from Rio, though the ruling body, the International Amateur Athletics Federation, allowed her to compete as a neutral athlete.
Stepanova and her husband had asked the executive board to review its initial ruling, which caused a storm, but Adams said: “the final decision on Stepanova has been taken.’’
The executives heard a final report from the Rio organising committee six days ahead of the opening ceremony.
“Everything is on the way. … Now we are working for the operation of the Games,’’ organising committee chief, Carlos Nuzman, told reporters.
“It was very short – we are very proud we did our final presentation for the Games. We had only two questions from the IOC, but nothing important.’’
Nuzman also affirmed that the IOC president, Thomas Bach, had expressed confidence in the Games.
This was later confirmed by Adams, who said Bach “is very upbeat. He thinks it will be great Games. He gave a rousing thank you to the team.
“Now we must concentrate on delivery, delivery, delivery,’’ Adams said.
Athletes, officials and the world media are arriving in Rio, and on Saturday the crucial Metro line to the Olympic venues in Barra from the popular beach district of Ipanema was formally opened in the presence of Brazil’s acting President Michel Temer.
Rio was awarded the first Olympics in South America in 2009. The organising effort was bogged down by delays and financial constraints.