Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bach defends Russia doping response as legal bids hit Games



Bach defends Russia doping response as legal bids hit Games

Bach defends Russia doping response as legal bids hit Games

Olympics chief Thomas Bach defended his handling of the Russian doping scandal today as legal bids by 47 Russians to join the Pyeongchang Winter Games looked set to go down to the wire.

Bach refused to be drawn on the cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which has already lifted life bans imposed on 28 Russians by the International Olympic Committee.

Fifteen of the Russians are appealing against the IOC’s decision to refuse them invitations for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which will start with a gala opening ceremony on Friday.

Another 32, including Korean-born speed skater Victor An, launched a similar appeal on Tuesday. The cases have been adjourned until Thursday.

After revelations of a state-sponsored doping conspiracy, the IOC suspended Russia in December but allowed a large group of “clean” Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag.

The late wrangling to join this group has proved a distraction before Pyeongchang and echoes the confusion at Rio 2016, when the IOC stopped short of banning Russia and instead let sports federations decide whether to admit Russian athletes.

Bach, asked whether he had presided over a “fiasco”, said this week’s IOC session had overwhelmingly backed a vote of confidence in the handling of the crisis.

“This was a very clear message after all the arguments had been addressed,” said Bach, adding that the “timing (of Russia’s suspension) was not in our hands”.

“Studies had to be done . . . evidence had to be provided and fair hearings for Russian athletes had to be offered,” he said, describing the work of the IOC’s disciplinary commission.

Former world anti-doping president Dick Pound on Tuesday slammed the IOC’s response to Russia, insisting the body’s credibility had been badly affected. Along with Britain’s Adam Pengilly, he was the only delegate to abstain from the vote of confidence.

The ongoing fall-out of the Russia doping scandal, which culminated as it hosted the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, has overshadowed other aspects of Pyeongchang, including the participation of North Korea.

Bach, who was an Olympic fencer for West Germany in the 1970s, before reunification with East Germany, said it would be poignant when the two Koreas march together at the opening ceremony.

“For sure this joint march will be the most emotional moment,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with