General – The proud sporting nation Russia is fighting for many medals at the Olympic Games in spite of the sanctions for doping – and for its reputation.
335 athletes will compete for the sports superpower Russia, which has fallen into disrepute for doping, at the summer games in Tokyo. That is around 60 more than in Rio in 2016. And Stanislav Posdnyakov, Olympic champion in saber fencing and today President of the Russian Olympic Committee, is delighted that the athletes are allowed to compete at all.
Both the Russian flag and anthem have been banned from the Games by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee. Russia officially competes under a neutral flag and as “Team ROC”, where “ROC” stands for “Russian Olympic Committee”
“I would like to say that the anti-doping situation in Russia is developing in a good direction,” said Posdnyakov. An expert in the fight against doping has been hired in every sports association this year.
Often meldonium abuse
The Russians only had to remove the two rowers Nikita Morgachev and Pawel Sorin from the line-up for the Olympic Games in Tokyo at the beginning of the month because of a positive result in a doping test. The forbidden hormone substance meldonium was detected in both of them, which causes greater resilience and faster regeneration.
Posdnyakov spoke of a “blatant incident”. “That is completely incomprehensible to me,” says the 47-year-old, because athletes apparently continued to consciously use the preparation despite training. “The use of meldonium is the stupidest violation of all,” he grumbled at the 40 or so Russian athletes who were banned for penalties for illegally using meldonium.
Athletics sparsely represented
Of the 185 Russians and 150 Russians fighting for medals in Tokyo, only 10 are in the athletics disciplines. The Russian Athletics Association remains suspended, as the world association decided in 2015 against the background of state-sponsored doping. Since the middle of March, however, individual athletes have again been able to apply for an individual starting permit.