Russian badminton players cleared to play in Rio after doping scandal

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Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov became the first ever Russian men's doubles pair to win the All England title. (photo: BWF)

Moscow: A Canadian lawyer commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), issued a report two weeks ago accusing Russia’s sports ministry of overseeing a vast doping program of its Olympic athletes.Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov became the first ever Russian men's doubles pair to win the All England title. (photo: BWF)

Since then, calls for a complete ban on Russia at the Rio Olympic Games have intensified in the wake of that damning revelations on state-run doping.

On Tuesday, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) have given four Russian badminton players including Vladimir Malkov and Natalia Perminova in the men’s and women’s singles as well as the men’s doubles partnership of Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov clearance to participate in the draws for the Rio Games. However, BWF are now waiting on confirmation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) special commission to see if these four Russian shuttlers and first reserve Vitaly Durkin and Nina Vislova in mixed doubles will be in action in Rio de Janeiro.

“We have had a rigid drug-testing programme, especially leading up to Rio 2016 and all four Russian athletes have been tested in and out of competition and their samples have been analyzed outside of Russia,” Secretary General Thomas Lund said during the draw.

“We believe the information that we have provided on these athletes lives up to the criteria for participation in the Badminton Competition at Rio 2016, but it is left for the IOC to validate.”

“We have chosen to keep them in the draw, pending that validation.”

Despite the clearance, things do not look good for these four Russian badminton players as up to 90 per cent of Russia’s team for the Olympics could still be banned from next month’s Games, even though the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to expel the entire country from the Rio Olympics.

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