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Australian government backs decision to ban Russia from 2020 Olympics

Russia has been banned from the 2020 Olympics and a host of other events. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
9th December, 2019
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The federal government has backed the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban Russia from competing at the Tokyo Olympics and other sporting world championships.

The decision was taken to impose a four-year suspension after Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) officials were found to have tampered with doping-related laboratory data.

It will see Russia barred from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The Australian Government, as Oceania’s representative on WADA’s executive committee voted to support the sanctions.

“The WADA investigations revealed a clear and calculated intent to covertly manipulate data within the laboratory information management system, hide evidence and falsely blame others for it,” a statement read.

“It follows earlier revelations of the Russian state-sponsored doping program.

“Our athletes deserve to compete on a fair and even playing field both domestically and internationally.

“The Australian Government will continue to advocate for clean and fair competition.”

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has demanded an appeal against the decision.

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“Russian organisations that deal with these issues should consider challenging this decision,” Medvedev said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

While Medvedev admitted to “considerable problems” with doping in Russia, the ban pertains to “athletes who have already been punished.” Such a far-reaching punishment is the result of “anti-Russian hysteria,” he said.

RUSADA’s deputy director, Margarita Pakhnotskaya, shrugged off the ban as “expected.”

“And that it was also a consensus, I am also not surprised,” she said, adding that the WADA committee did not in any way express support for Russia.

Another influential lawmaker, the deputy speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, Pyotr Tolstoy, condemned the ban as an anti-Russian campaign to remove competition in international sports.

“This is a means of pushing Russian competitors out of international sports,” Tolstoy said.

“We need to reinstate our rights, annul [this decision] and renegotiate.”

© AAP