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Whistleblower Stepanova challenges IOC decision

Doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova has questioned the “unfair” decision by the International Olympic Committee to ban her from the Rio Olympics.

The 800m runner’s testimony helped shed light on the scale of doping in Russian sport, and she was to compete under a neutral flag in Rio next month.

But the IOC ruled that she should not be allowed to take part as she had previously failed a doping test.

Stepanova said the IOC decision was “based on wrong and untrue statements”.

In a statement, Stepanova claimed the IOC decision would also put off future whistleblowers from coming forward and that it contradicted previous decisions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IOC on Sunday decided against enforcing a blanket ban from Rio 2016 for all Russian sportspeople. Anti-doping bodies had called for tough action following the release of the McLaren report last week, which detailed widespread, state-sponsored doping in the country.

Instead, the IOC said it would be up to individual sports federations to decide which athletes were eligible for Rio.

It also said Stepanova should not be allowed to compete, despite her having earlier won the support of athletics’ governing body, the IAAF.

Stepanova and husband Vitaly, a former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) official, played a key role in the chain of events that led to the IOC having to rule on Russian sport’s place at the Rio Games.

The pair gave evidence to a German documentary maker in 2014 that led to an independent report being commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which uncovered the scale of doping by athletes in the country.

That in turn led to the McLaren report – also commissioned by Wada – which further highlighted Russia’s extensive doping.

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