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Doping ban offers Rio certainty for Kiwis

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/06/2016

Kiwi competitors have a degree of certainty going into the Rio Olympics after an international athletics decision to extend the ban on Russia's track and field team, New Zealand athletics bosses say.

IAAF, the world athletics body, has said Russian athletes can't compete at Rio because the country hasn't given up its doping culture, although exceptions will be considered for clean athletes.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said after a governing council meeting in Vienna on Friday that "although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that RusAF had not met the reinstatement conditions".

The council found "Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public", Coe added.

Athletics NZ high performance director Scott Goodman says the decision means New Zealand athletes heading to Rio will have some assurance around who they will be facing.

"Our athletes can now focus on competing in Rio on what we hope will be a level playing field," Goodman said.

"We want young athletes aspiring to be future Olympians to know that the sport is working hard to have a clean, drug-free environment for them."

Athletics NZ supported the IAAF's process to determine whether Russian athletes could resume international competition, chief executive Linda Hamersley said.

"We understand the process has been robust and that the IAAF inspection team are not satisfied that ARAF are fully compliant with the verification criteria."

She said Athletics NZ acknowledged the job being done by world anti-doping watchdog WADA and Drug Free Sport New Zealand to keep sport clean, and would continue to work with them.

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