European athletics supremo doubtful Russia will be ready to compete at Rio Olympics
European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen expresses doubts over Russia’s participation in Brazil 2016
European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has expressed doubts whether Russia, currently suspended from all athletics competitions following allegations of state-sponsored doping, will have made necessary reforms in time to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Russia were hit with an indefinite suspension by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last month after a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) independent commission report revealed that Russia's anti-doping agency had “routinely” violated global testing standards.
A team of experts named by Wada have begun work in Moscow to help Russia implement the necessary reforms with an IAAF inspection team due to visit Russia on January 10-11.
They will then report back to the IAAF Council by the earliest at its March 27 meeting in Cardiff, leaving just over four months before the Olympics get underway on August 5.
“For the moment they (Russia) have to fulfil the conditions, but I cannot really see them competing in Rio,” Hansen said in a interview with athleticsweekly.com.
“We will have the first report to the IAAF in March but for the moment they have to really, really put a lot of effort in to compete in Rio.
“They must have a cultural change. They must get rid of all those people from before.”
The former Norwegian athletics chief believes that the necessary changes are being put in place but it will take time.
“They are now working very, very hard to have this improved. They have been faced with very, very tough conditions but I think they want to play along,” he said.
“We know some good people in Russian athletics and I'm sure they will be elected. We hope that some new people will come in who really understand that this must be changed.”