Olympic officials today cleared about 270 Russian athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics, just one day before the opening ceremony, the TASS news agency reported, citing the head of the Russian Olympic Committee.
Russian boxers, tennis players, judokas and shooters were among those given the last-minute approval by an International Olympic Committee panel set up to review the eligibility of all Russian athletes previously cleared to compete by their international federations.
“We have received documents on the admission of about 270 sportspeople, now we need to do the updated counting,” TASS cited Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian committee, as saying. That is about 70 percent of the 387 athletes Russia initially planned to send to the games.
Russia, which narrowly avoided a complete ban from the Olympics following revelations of state-backed doping, had hoped to have between 272 and 280 athletes declared eligible for Rio after the IOC review.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) said all 11 Russian boxers who qualified for the Games had been given the all clear.
They will be joined by eight Russian tennis players, 18 shooters, 11 judokas and Russian golfer Maria Verchenova, the sports’ international federations said.
Russian news agency R-Sport reported that 29 Russian swimmers and canoeing world champion Andrey Kraitor would also be allowed to compete.
“AIBA has carried out an individual analysis of the anti-doping record of each of the 11 Russian boxers qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games…” AIBA said in a statement.
“That process is now complete and confirmation has been received from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Review Panel that the following 11 Russian boxers are eligible to compete at Rio 2016.”
Russia’s doping scandal, which centres on allegations that the Russian government and FSB security service systematically covered up widespread cheating in sport, has already cost the country’s track-and-field athletes and weightlifters their place at the Rio Games.
The IOC chose not to impose a blanket ban on all Russian athletes at a meeting in July, but directed sports federations to allow Russians to compete if they met a set of criteria, including a clean doping past and sufficient testing at international events.
The Games’ ruling body said on Saturday those decisions would now be reviewed by an independent panel consisting of Ugur Erdener, the IOC’s medical commission chairman, Germany’s Claudia Bokel and fellow IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr.