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Volleyball player Tetyukhin to carry Russian flag in Rio

Europe
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Moscow (dpa) - Volleyball player Sergey Tetyukhin will carry the Russian flag at the opening ceremony of the Rio Games on August 5, twice Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva said on Thursday.

Tetyukhin will lead a depleted Russian delegation after two reports into state-run doping in Russia forced the track and field team to be excluded from Rio and any other competitor previously caught doping or suspected of doping to also be barred.

"The flag bearer for the Olympics in Rio has long been determined," Isinbayeva, who is one of those banned, wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of Tetyukhin.

The 40-year-old will be attending his fifth Olympic Games and was part of the team to win gold in London four years ago.

The majority of the Russian team eligible to compete in Rio jetted off for Brazil earlier on Thursday having been given a send-off at the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

Isinbayeva, arguably Russia‘s most famous sports personality, spoke at the send-off and broke into tears over her ineligibility for Rio despite never having failed a doping test.

On Thursday, her coach Yevgeny Trofimov said: "We are being treated like North Korea. We are being attacked from all sides and we can‘t do anything."

The World Anti-Doping Agency had recommended a blanket ban for all Russian athletes across all sports in Rio because of systematic doping but the International Olympic Committee decided against an outright suspension.

Russia is expected to send a team of only around 270 to Rio. Of 68 track and field athletes who were due to attend, only the US-based long jumper Darya Klishina has been given special dispensation to compete.

As the main Russian contingent flew to Rio, handball player Anna Sen said: "We are going to fight for the athletes who are disqualified."

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