Absent friends: US athletes dismayed by ban on Russian track team
US track and field stars expressed dismay at the doping-ban enforced absence of Russian rivals in Rio on Thursday on the eve of the Olympic athletics competition.
Ten days of athletics start at the Olympic Stadium on Friday with all Russian athletes except one banned because of allegations of state-sponsored doping.
American hurdler Devon Allen is disappointed he will not have the chance to test his prowess against Sergey Shubenkov, the reigning 110m hurdles world champion.
“The defending world champion is Russian and he’s not here. As a competitor it’s kind of disappointing because obviously I want to compete against him,” added Allen.
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Pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, a second lieutenant in the US Army reserve, said he was saddened that clean Russian athletes had not more time to fight their case against exclusion.
“The Russians have always had a history of being very immaculate in the vaults,” Kendricks told a press conference.
“I’m not happy that several of my Russian friends, who I have no doubt compete fairly, will not be here.”
Russian athletes were suspended from international competition last year after the World Anti-Doping Agency published a report which alleged “state-sponsored” doping.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) extended the ban to cover the Olympics after ruling that the criteria for reinstatement had not been met.
Kendricks said he understood the reasons for the hardline stance by the IAAF.
“This is something the sport has to go through to put more light on this issue so that everybody is held to the same standard,” he said.