17:17 GMT +316 December 2019
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    An airplane flies past Olympic rings placed at the entrance of office building ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 19, 2016

    Cold War in Sports? Protests Grow Over Russian Athletes’ Ban From Rio

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    More and more athletes and sports specialists around the world are protesting the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to ban the Russian athletics team from participating in the upcoming Rio Olympics.

    “I see this decision as totally unfair and I resolutely support the appeal lodged by the Russian Olympic Committee. This is a clear case of some people trying to politicize sports, to sally Russia’s image in the world and give it a bad name. This is a group of countries, led by the US, which I call as political double-dealers and crooks,” Yang Binsheng, a Beijing Sport University professor, told Sputnik.

    “Of course, if some athletes actually used drugs, they must be punished. But many Russian athletes did not use them and they have been banned nonetheless. This is an unfair decision that defies any reasonable explanation,” he added.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Mostafa Shoughi, sports editor at the Iranian newspaper Hamshari, said that the current scandal is all about Russia’s relations with the West.

    “A long time ago, the US, Canada and European countries started the so-called 'new Cold War in sports' with Russia. President Putin said that these countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics and also Russia’s boycott of the Los Angeles Games in 1984. Putin said those boycotts were a mistake. But this war still goes on, unilaterally being waged by the West,” Mostafa Shoughi said.

    He added that many people in Iran believe that that even though the absence of Russian wrestlers and weightlifters in Rio could increase the country’s chances of winning medals there, failure by “clean” Russian athletes to compete in Rio would  damage the IOC’s image and scale down the importance of the world’s number one sporting event.

    Legendary Serbian basketballer Zoran Slavnic minced no words when commenting on the Court of Arbitration’s ruling.

    “This is a political decision, no doubt about that. I still hope it won’t stand and the CAS will eventually retract it."

    Zoran Slavnic, who won everything he could in a career with his national team: 3 European Championships (1973, 1975, 1977), World Championship (1978) and Olympic Gold (1980), said the decision to ban the Russian athletics team from the Games reflected Western hostility towards Russia.

    He also wished that the Americans had never boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. As for the CAS’s decision, Zoran said: “It’s a pity that we have to watch all this roadshow, but politicians are  such a piece of [curse] always poking their nose in everything!”

    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.


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    ban, Rio-2016, Russian athletes, Russian Olympic Committee, Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Court of Arbitration for Sport, International Olympic Committee (IOC), IOC, Vladimir Putin, Zoran Slavnic, Mostafa Shoughi, Yang Binsheng, Russia
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