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Vladimir Putin condemns IAAF decision to ban Russian athletes from competing in Rio

Prez Vladimir Putin condemns IAAF decision to ban Russian athletes from competing in Rio; why vicitimise all practitioners, asks controversial leader

Saint Petersburg: Russian president Vladimir Putin labelled his country's ban from Olympic athletics this summer 'unjust' after it was upheld on Friday — albeit with 'a crack in the door' for a handful of competitors.

Russian president Vladimir Putin
Russian president Vladimir Putin

Despite desperate attempts by Russia to be reinstated before the Games in August, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) voted unanimously against lifting the prohibition in Vienna on Friday.

Putin told a press conference in St Petersburg: "Of course that is unjust and unfair.

"There are universally recognised principles of law. If some of the members of your family have committed a crime, would it be fair to hold all the members of the family liable, including you?

"The people who have nothing to do with violations, why should they suffer for those who committed the violations? That actually does not go into the framework of civilised behaviour."

Russia's Natalya Antyukh gets emotional after winning gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics. Pic/Getty Images
Russia's Natalya Antyukh gets emotional after winning gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics. Pic/Getty Images

A report by an independent commission chaired by former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound found evidence of a state-sponsored doping ring but Putin insisted the government is trying to crack down.

He said: "We feel indignation ourselves when we face the problems of doping and we try to cut this and punish the culprits. But the so-called clean athletes, why should they suffer?"

IAAF Task Force head Rune Andersen said an athlete who had a record of clean tests from 'credible anti-doping agencies' could compete in Rio but not in Russian colours.

"The system in Russia has been so tainted, it's difficult to pick the clean athletes," the Norwegian anti-doping expert said.

"We know that one, five or even 100 negative tests doesn't necessarily mean you're clean — history has shown us that.

"But there is a very tiny crack in the door for those who have been subjected to rigorous testing abroad.

"The crack is quite narrow; not many athletes will get through it. They will have to show that they have come through a credible system and are not tainted."

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