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Clean Russian athletes cry foul over mass doping ban

By Staff Reporter

Pole vault world record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva and other Russian track and field stars came together yesterday to decry the suspension of their country's athletics federation.

"Why should those like me suffer for the mistakes of irresponsible athletes who allow themselves to do doping?" two-time Olympic champion Isinbayeva said at a news conference. "This situation has to be examined on a case-by-case basis."

The IAAF provisionally suspended Russia on Friday after it was accused by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission of operating an extensive state-backed doping programme.

"I would like to urge the IAAF to act objectively," Isinbayeva said.

The suspension means all Russian athletes are banned from international competition until Russia is declared compliant with global anti-doping rules. Until then, they could miss the world indoor championships in Portland, Oregon, in March and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Sergei Shubenkov, world champion in the 110-metre hurdles, said he fears suffering the same fate as his mother, heptathlete Natalya Shubenkova, who missed the 1984 Olympics because of the Soviet boycott.

"She had to stay home for political reasons,"he said. "Now it turns out that the story is being repeated. I'm very angry. In essence, I have been punished for nothing."

Also Monday, Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said the committee plans to establish a temporary managing committee this week for the Russian athletics federation, pending elections of a new president in January.

"We think this committee will include authoritative people not linked with athletics," he was quoted as saying by the state news agency Tass.

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