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IOC meet to focus on ‘clean’ athletes, anti-doping fight

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 International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach arrives at the opening of an Olympic summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach arrives at the opening of an Olympic summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 21 – IOC president Thomas Bach opened the Olympic summit on Tuesday with the focus on protecting clean athletes and ramping up the anti-doping fight ahead of August’s Rio Olympics.

“I would like to thank you all for being present on such a short notice,” Bach told the 14-member IOC executive committee gathered at IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

“It shows the importance of today’s meeting where we want to coordinate our efforts to protect the clean athletes and to strengthen the fight against doping, in particular with regards to the upcoming Olympic Games, Rio 2016.

“We will have some interesting debates.”

For Russia’s track and field stars, Tuesday’s meeting may offer the last chance to compete in Brazil.

Last week, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) upheld a ban on Russian athletes, first imposed in November, following revelations of state-sponsored doping and massive corruption riddling the nation’s track and field programme.

The IOC at the weekend applauded the tough stance and endorsed the IAAF’s assertion that it was the athletics federation rather than the Olympic body that had jurisdiction over eligibility.

But the IAAF left a window slightly open.

“Individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system” could yet take part in Rio, the body said.

It remains unclear how many Russian athletes meet that criteria. And, if some do, under which flag will they compete?

Tuesday’s IOC Olympic summit should provide some initial answers.

The IOC executive committee’s meeting is due to finish at 1000 GMT and will be followed by a press conference with IOC head Bach.

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