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Russia ban: Doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova hits back at Olympic bosses over Rio snub

(CNN)One of the key whistleblowers in exposing state-run doping in Russia has warned Olympic bosses they risk scaring others from coming forward by banning her from Rio 2016.

Yuliya Stepanova, who along with her husband Vitaly gave evidence that led to the Russian track and field team’s ban from the Olympics, had been given the go ahead to compete in Rio by athletics governing body the IAAF.
    But that was blocked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), leaving the 800 meter runner accusing the body of basing its decision “based on wrong and untrue statements.”
    Stepanova has been deemed ineligible to compete under the IOC executive board ruling, which rejected calls for a blanket ban on Russia but instead said Russian athletes who had previously been caught doping could not be selected.
    That includes Stepanova, who served a two-year ban from February 2013 for abnormalities in her biological passport.
    The IOC was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNN.
    Stepanova had previously told the IOC’s ethics commission: “It [allowing her to compete] would show an example to the other athletes that may find themselves in a similar situation as I was that it is necessary to say the truth, that one needs to fight the system.
    “It would show that if they act with good intentions, they will be listened to and even the IOC will support them.”

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    He said: “I felt like ‘are you trying to buy us?’ Is that how the IOC treats whistleblowers? Make them quiet by giving them IOC accreditation and access to VIP lounges.”
    Vitaly Stepanova described the organization as “not a leader in sport movement” but one that “says strong words but it acts weak” claiming they had denied his wife the chance to “see how fast she can run by being an honest athlete.
    “My personal view from the communications we had with people from the IOC, those people had no interest in clean sport,” he said. “I got the impression the only thing they cared about is protecting the IOC as an organization.”
    The decision of the remaining Russian sportsmen and women rests in the hands of their individual sporting federations. Already, archery, badminton, equestrianism, judo and tennis have been among the sports to give Russia the all clear to compete.
    “I believe this is exactly what we must do [take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Vitaly was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS.
    “We are disappointed beyond the limits because four years of hard work have all been in vain. So we need to do something about it.”
    CAS was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNN to confirm if the whistleblowers had filed an appeal with the Switzerland based court.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/26/sport/stepanova-olympic-russia-ban-rio-2016/index.html

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