Moscow: Russia’s reaction to the ban from competing in international competitions, including the 2020 and 2022 Olympics, for the next two years is “negative” but the country is relieved that its athletes can now participate, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.
“Of course, we regret this decision, and, of course, our attitude to it is negative. But, at the same time, as our senior sports officials have already noted, the most important thing is that athletes get the right to take part in international competitions, which will help them maintain their international qualifications and remain in good shape,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman of President Vladimir Putin, told reporters.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday halved the four-year ban that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had imposed on Russia for running a widespread state-sponsored doping programme for its athletes competing at international level over the year. The ruling allowed Russian athletes to compete in tournaments during the period of the ban under a neutral flag.
“As regards all other issues, we intend to stay in close touch with international sports organisations,” said Peskov. “We will continue this dialogue, we will continue to defend our interests by all means available, and we will continue our crackdown on doping, which the president of the Russian Federation has repeatedly described as the greatest evil.”