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  • 26 March 2019
    MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin hit out at discrimination against the countrys banned track and field athletes at a Kremlin send-off ceremony Wednesday for its depleted Olympic team.Fencers, triathletes and table tennis players became the latest team of Russians to be cleared to compete in the Olympics by the governing bodies of their sports ahead of the Moscow ceremony, but the IAAF rejected a bid by the bulk of the track and field team to be reinstated.More than 100 Russians from the 387-strong Olympic team have been banned so far from going to Rio de Janeiro.We cant accept indiscriminate disqualification of our athletes with an absolutely clean doping history, Putin said. We cannot and will not accept what in fact is pure discrimination.Putin said the athletes banned from the Olympics were victims of a campaign to present Russian sports in a bad light. He spoke with two-time Olympic pole-vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva, the most high-profile of the 67 track and field athletes banned from the games, standing beside him.Fighting back tears, Isinbayeva told Rio-bound Russian athletes: Show them what youre able to do -- for yourself and for us too.As the athletes walked across Red Square to meet Putin, some posed for selfies with Vitaly Mutko, whose sports ministry was accused by the World Anti-Doping Agency of orchestrating the doping cover-up. The sports minister has been blocked by the International Olympic Committee from attending the games next month but he remains in Putins government.The IAAF is the only sport to impose a near-blanket ban on Russians, only deeming one -- long jumper Darya Klishina -- eligible for Rio.The situation went beyond the legal field as well as common sense, Putin told the audience, which included many of the banned athletes. Its a well-planned campaign which targeted our athletes, which included double-standards and the concept of collective punishment which has nothing to do with justice or even basic legal norms.Not only have our athletes who never faced any specific accusations been hurt -- this is a blow to the entire global sports and the Olympic Games. Clearly, the absence of Russian athletes who were leaders in some of the sports will affect the competition.There was positive news, however, from Putins ally, Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire who is president of the International Fencing Federation.The governing body said it would allow the 16 Russian fencers who have qualified for the Rio Games to compete and it approved four reserves. The decision came after the FIE said it had re-examined 197 tests taken from Russian fencers in 35 countries over the last two years which all came back negative.The FIE said the fencers heading to Rio were not implicated in the latest report by WADA investigator Richard McLaren, who found that four positive doping tests in Russian fencing disappeared in recent years.Four positive results in Russian triathlon were also covered up, according to McLaren. The International Triathlon Union said the three men and three women who qualified for Rio are not mentioned in the McLaren report and have not served past doping suspensions.They have all been tested outside of Russia, the ITU said in a statement. Therefore, ITU will recommend to the IOC that these six athletes be permitted to compete in Rio next month.The Table Tennis Federation also announced that the three Russians who qualified for Rio should be allowed to compete because they were not implicated in the McLaren report, which classified one doping case in their sport as a disappearing positive.Russian entries to the Olympics must still be examined and upheld by an expert from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.The International Gymnastics Federation said it has established a pool of eligible Russian athletes and is awaiting IOC approval.Individual sports federations were given the task of deciding which athletes should be cleared to compete in Rio by the International Olympic Committee on Sunday. In his native Germany, IOC President Thomas Bach is facing increasing criticism for failing to impose a complete ban on Russias team.Germanys national anti-doping agency chief Andrea Gotzmann said the decision does not follow the IOCs declared zero tolerance policy, saying Bach has missed a huge chance.Olympic discuss champion Robert Harting said he was ashamed of Thomas Bach.---This story has been corrected to show that Isinbayevas first name is Yelena, not Irina.---Harris reported from London. AP Sports Writer Nesha Starcevic in Frankfurt, Germany contributed to this report. Adidas Outlet Canada . Ryan Garbutt had a goal and two assists as Dallas snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. Adidas Wholesale Canada .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. .C. -- Rodney Hood connected from all over the court while freshman Jabari Parker was busy swatting shots and scoring in transition. 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A letter drafted by U.S. and Canadian anti-doping leaders urging Russias removal from the upcoming Olympics is circulating days before the public release of a report expected to detail a state-sponsored doping system that corrupted the countrys entire sports program.The letter, drafted last week and obtained by The Associated Press, is being prepared to possibly be sent to the International Olympic Committees president and executive board after the Monday release of a report by investigator Richard McLaren.The letter, which U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials say would only be sent if the report details widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russia, calls for the IOC to act by July 26 to ensure that Russias Olympic Committee and sports federations will not be allowed in Rio de Janeiro, where the games are set to start on Aug. 5.The letter encourages exceptions for Russia-born athletes who can prove they were subject to strong anti-doping systems in other countries.A statement from Pat Hickey, the president of the European Olympic Committee, said the letter undermined the integrity and therefore the credibility of this important report.My concern is that there seems to have been an attempt to agree (on) an outcome before any evidence has been presented, Hickey said.USADA CEO Travis Tygart said the letter, which has backing from anti-doping agencies in at least six countries and athlete groups from around the world, was drafted with no intent for it to become public unless the McLaren report contains evidence of a major state-sponsored doping program.Of course, we want and hope for universal inclusion, but were not blind to the evidence already out there, Tygart said. And if were not preparing for all potential outcomes, then we are not fulfilling our promise to clean athletes.The McLaren report was sparked by a New York Times story accusing the Russian government of helping to manipulate tests at the Sochi Games to ensure cheaters wouldnt get caught.Preliminary findings from the report, released last month, found mandatory state-directed manipulation of laboratory analyytical results operating within the Moscow anti-doping lab from at least 2011 through the summer of 2013.dddddddddddd. Those findings also said Russias Ministry of Sport advised the laboratory which of its adverse findings it could report to WADA, and which it had to cover up.Based in part on that information, the letter to the IOC anticipates that the McLaren report will show the Russian government helped organize a systematic undermining of the drug testing of Russian athletes for many years in a successful effort to cheat to win.The AP also obtained a letter written by Beckie Scott, head of the athlete committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency, urging athletes to sign onto the U.S.-Canada letter. Scott informs athletes that, in addition to support from Tygart and Canadas anti-doping head, Paul Melia, the letter also has backing from anti-doping agencies in Germany, New Zealand, Japan, France, Denmark and Norway.Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said it was important to strike the right balance between collective responsibility and individual justice in dealing with results from the McLaren report.It is obvious that you cannot sanction or punish a badminton player for infringement of rules or manipulation by an official or lab director in the Winter Games, Bach said.Already, tracks governing body, the IAAF, has suspended Russias track team from the Olympics after a separate investigation turned up evidence of a state-sponsored doping system used to benefit that team. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to rule July 21 on the eligibility of 68 Russian athletes who have appealed to compete in Rio.McLaren was given permission to look into all Russian sports, and the letter being drafted for the IOC is written in case the report shows many of them have been corrupted.We agree and believe a full suspension is the only available and appropriate result having regard to the findings and conclusions set out in the report, it said. ' ' '