There is no doubt that the well-publicised findings of systematic doping in certain Russia sports are a matter of major concern but should everyone be penalised because of a few rotten eggs? Of course not. The IOC’s decision to allow certain Russian athletes to be determined fit or not by individual sports federations is the correct one.
This decision now allows seven Russian tennis players the opportunity to go to Rio for the Olympic Games. Maria Sharapova would have been carrying the flag but the high standard of drug testing carried out at tennis events worldwide has resulted her from being banned due to the use of meldonium which was picked up at this year’s Australian Open when she failed a test after losing to Serena Williams.
The fact that tennis does have a solid drug testing program and one that is conducted in and out of competition allows international sport to see that in tennis if there is an issue it is highlighted as quickly as possible.
The International Tennis Federation has released figures on the seven Russian athletes that will have the all-clear to travel to Rio. Since 2014 a total of 205 samples were collected of which 83 (40%) were collected during competition and 122 (60%) were collected out of competition. From those samples 111 (54%) were urine and 94 (45%) were blood.
The fact that there are so many tennis tournaments allows tennis players to be tested on a regular basis, one of the many positives about the sport.
The seven Russian players are: Andrey Kuznetsov, Evgeny Donskoy, Teymuraz Gabashvili, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Darya Kasatkina and Ekaterina Makarova. The only ones in the group to have competed at previous Olympics are Kuznetsova, she has been at two, and Makarova who has been at one.
Sveta was obviously delighted and Tweeted "Riooooo" with three Russian flags.