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    Tatyana Kosheleva

    'Where Does This Hatred of Russia Come From?' - Volleyball Team Captain

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    In an interview with R-Sport, Tatiana Kosheleva, captain of the Russian women's national volleyball team, said that she was bewildered by the attitude towards Russian athletes, who have partially been banned from taking part in the 2016 Rio Games, adding that politics must have played a role in this decision.

    "It's hard for me understand where this attitude, this hatred of Russia and Russian sport comes from. In my opinion, sport stirs up other, completely different emotions," Kosheleva, who won gold at the 2010 World Championship, noted.

    There is no doubt that athletes must be clean, she said. "But only those who are guilty must be punished. And I think that these people have already been penalized. I don't understand what other athletes have to do with it."

    The volleyball player suggested that the global political situation could have been a factor. "They want to 'pinch' Russia whenever an opportunity arises," she said. "But we have strong character, we are strong-willed. I wish everyone patience, perseverance and not to respond to provocations."

    On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld the IAAF's decision to bar the Russian track and field team from competing in Rio. However, the IOC Executive Board refused to slap a blanket ban on all Russian athletes, saying that respective international federations will decide whether individuals who have not been found guilty of doping violations could participate.

    Those Russian athletes who have doping records were barred from the high-profile international competition even if they have already served their suspension.

    The volleyball player maintained that the Russian female volleyball team has every right to take part in the Rio Olympics, saying that they have worked hard to compete and "are innocent of any wrongdoing."

    Kosheleva further said that the Russian volleyball team has every chance to win Olympic gold in Rio. "What else could I be hoping for before entering the court? I respect the opponents. I know that at least five teams could grab Rio gold. Russia is one of them. But I never doubt our team, our spirit and our skills," she observed.

    Related:

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    Japan's Olympic Committee Welcomes IOC Decision Not to Ban Russia From Rio
    Tags:
    politics, doping scandal, doping, Olympics 2016, Rio Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Tatiana Kosheleva, Russia
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