“Russian athletes should not be held accountable for this, because this is being done on the state level. Athletes are like animals, they are victims,” Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, the middle-distance runner of Algerian origin who has won medals in major international competitions such as the Olympic Games, world and European championships, told Le Monde.
He mentioned Kenya and Ethiopia as problem countries involved in doping scandals, saying that Kenyan athletes are warned about upcoming doping tests 10 days in advance.
Meanwhile, as many as 45 athletes taking part in the Beijing and London Olympics representing eight and nine countries, respectively, tested positive in reanalysis of samples, the International Olympic Committee said Friday.
In an interview with Sputnik, Polish sports writer Jakub Radomski dismissed the Russian athletes’ disqualification as totally unfair.
Disqualifying athletes is not an easy matter. [Anti-doping] experts traditionally draw comparisons with the system that once existed in the German Democratic Republic. Secondly, here we have a case of collective responsibility as all 68 Russian track and fielders have been punished, even though we have no hard proof that they have all been intentionally cheating,” Radomski said.
“It looks like Russians will not be going to Rio, but many others who have previously been caught using drugs, will. It’s not fair. Suffice it to mention US sprinter Justin Gatlin, whom people call a two-time drugs cheat.”
“After he was caught a second time he faced a lifetime ban but he is now pronounced “clean” and able to vie for an Olympic medal – a chance Russians have been deprived of. It’s not fair!” Jakub Radomski protested.
On Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to ban Russian track-and-field athletes from participation in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
On Monday, an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commission presented a report based on the results of its investigation into allegations that dozens of Russian athletes used performance-enhancing drugs at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia has been accused of running a state-wide doping program.
Following the release of the WADA report, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it would consider a collective ban for the entire Russian team, taking into consideration the CAS verdict.