The Russian Olympic Committee said it was determined on Tuesday that Russia will participate in the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, confirming that the country's exclusion from major sports competitions for having falsified anti-doping data will be contested.
"The Russian Olympic Committee (COR) is an ex-officio and full member of the Olympic movement, which is why we have every reason to believe that we will form the team for Tokyo and we will do everything to ensure that team participates under the Russian tricolor, "said Stanislav Pozdniakov, COR boss, after a meeting.
He also confirmed that COR, as a founding member of the anti-doping agency Rusada, was going to approve on Tuesday the decision of December 19 of its supervisory board not to accept the sanctions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) .
On December 9, the organization banned Russia from participating in major international events for four years, including the 2020 and 2022 Olympic Games and the 2022 Soccer World Cup.
Formally, once the founders of Rusada - the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees - have agreed on Tuesday, the Russian anti-doping agency will notify WADA that it is challenging these sanctions. The world agency will then have to seize the Arbitral tribunal of sport (CAS) which will rule in last resort.
The sanctions provide, in particular, that only hand-picked Russian athletes will be able to participate in the competitions, but under a neutral flag and without the national anthem being played. What the Russian Olympic Committee considers unacceptable, while the government has denounced a russophobic "hysteria".
WADA imposed these heavy sanctions because it considers Russia guilty of having "manipulated" the data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory which had been transmitted to it in early 2019 in the interests of transparency.
This is the umpteenth twist in a scandal that started with the revelation in 2015 of institutional doping practiced in Russia since 2011 and involving senior officials, secret agents and trafficked urine vials.
© 2019 AFP