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Russia's sport minister claims «moral right» to Olympic participation

Europe
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Berlin (dpa) - Russia sport minister Vitaly Mutko believes his country‘s athletes have a "moral right" to be at the forthcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro despite currently being suspended from competition.

"We have done everything possible to ensure that the suspension is lifted," Mutko said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel Saturday.

The Russian athletics federation is presently suspended by the governing body IAAF over a doping and corruption scandal. In recent weeks several Russian sportspeople have tested positive for Meldonium, which has been banned from this year.

"It is often prescribed where we are against heart problems and for prophylaxis," Mutko said. "It is not a terrible anabolic, it only helps to recover."

An IAAF council meeting will decide on June 17 whether the Russian suspension will be lifted but Mutko insisted the country was set on reforms.

"We have replaced officials and changed suspected coaches," he said. "Our athletes have the moral right to be in Rio."

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