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Bach defends Russian prescence in Rio

Sunday, July 31, 2016 - 01:50

International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach defends participation of Russian athletes at the Rio Olympic Games.

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RE-SENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT SHOWS: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (JULY 31, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH WALKING OUT FOR NEWS CONFERENCE 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH, SAYING: "You cannot deprive, you cannot deprive any human being, and in particular, I think, not an athlete, for whom we are responsible of the right to at least be given the opportunity to prove his or her innocence and that's also the difference with the McLaren report. The McLaren report, his mandate was as he explained, and this is why he needs to continue, was to reveal a system and this he did, and this he did in a very shocking way." 3. WHITE FLASH 4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH, SAYING: "We now have to decide what does this system mean for each and every individual and how far can you to punish an individual for the failures or manipulations of your government." 5. WHITE FLASH 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT THOMAS BACH, SAYING: "I trust that the people, they realise the difficulties we are in, they realise that again it was not an easy decision to take and that they realise that we did our best to address this situation in a way which allows to protect all clean athletes all over the world." STORY: Partial sanctions against Russian athletes over the country's state-run doping system are preliminary, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said on Sunday (July 31), defending the organisation's position amid vocal criticism. The IOC opted not to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after revelations of a wide state-backed doping programme across many sports. "You cannot deprive any human being, and in particular, I think, not an athlete, for whom we are responsible of the right to at least be given the opportunity to prove his or her innocence," said Bach. The IOC has instead chosen a set of criteria for athletes to meet, including a clean doping past and sufficient testing at international events, that so far has allowed more than 250 out of the original 387 Russian athletes to be cleared for Rio. Many anti-doping agencies, athletes and even senior IOC member Dick Pound sharply criticised the decision, saying the IOC lacked the leadership and courage to ban Russia, hosts of the 2014 Sochi winter Games, outright. Some have even called for Bach's resignation. Bach said the decision taken this month to allow some Russians to compete was a difficult one but had to be made under severe time constraints due to the start of the Games on Aug. 5. "I trust that the people, they realise the difficulties we are in, they realise that again it was not an easy decision to take and that they realise that we did our best to address this situation in a way which allows to protect all clean athletes all over the world," Bach told reporters. More measures will follow after the Olympics, once the report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, is completed by law professor Richard McLaren. Bach said the IOC was neither responsible for the timing of the McLaren report, nor was it for WADA's failure to act on the information regarding Russian doping it had received years ago.

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Bach defends Russian prescence in Rio

Sunday, July 31, 2016 - 01:50