Millennium Post

Time running out for Russia: Athletics boss

The newly-elected boss of Russia’s athletics federation on Monday admitted that it will be tough to end a ban imposed on the country’s athletes over doping in time for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin was chosen as head of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on Saturday and was charged with the task of repairing the damage done to the reputation of Russia’s athletes.

But the former regional sports official rated Moscow’s chances of overcoming the ban in time for the Rio Games at just fifty-fifty. “I think that currently we have an even chance of competing at the Olympics,” Shlyakhtin said. “We need to do our best to boost our athletes’ chances day by day.”

“We’re pressed for time as the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) expects us to take hard and drastic measures as soon as possible,” Sport-Express daily quoted Shlyakhtin as saying.

“In March we must report to the IAAF council what we have done. We need to convince them that we’re making revolutionary changes in Russia’s athletics. “Of course there will be doubts about our capability to change the existing practices in our athletics within just several weeks.” Shlyakhtin is backed by Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and he was elected unanimously to head the ARAF over the weekend after two candidates withdrew from the vote. 
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