Former Olympian backs IAAF’s ban on Russia

Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes

Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes has welcomed the decision of the IAAF to uphold Russia’s ban from international competitions.

The ban was imposed after accusations of state-sponsored doping.

It means Russia’s track-and-field team is suspended from the Rio Olympics, although individual athletes can compete if they prove they are clean. Dame Kelly, who won the 800m and 1500m in Athens, told BBC Radio Kent: “Until we make a stance, nothing changes.”

She continued: “You can’t go through life in sport with everybody being speculated on and everybody having a downer on sport.

The International Olympic Committee has the power to overturn the IAAF’s decision, but has strongly supported it, saying the ruling was in line with the IOC’s “zero-tolerance policy.”

It said in a statement it “fully respected” the IAAF’s position, adding: “The eligibility of athletes in any international competition including the Olympic Games is a matter for the respective international federation.”

Dame Kelly, who retired in 2005, said her view is based largely on her own experience of competing against athletes she suspected of doping.


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