MOSCOW, 16 July EFE).—Russia, one of the biggest sporting powers on the planet, will once again not hoist the flag and play an anthem in an edition of the Olympic Games in terms of achievements by its athletes in Tokyo.
This is due to a suspension imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) due to the country’s government-sponsored doping scheme, which was unveiled ahead of the previous edition of the multi-sport mega-event in Rio de Janeiro. in 2016.
In total, more than 300 athletes will be sent to the Japanese capital to participate in the competitions as neutrals, and Russian sports officials expect the delegation to receive around 50 medals.
“We are a united team, and when we unite, we are invincible. We have to compete without flags and without national anthem, but most importantly, loyalty and love for our country is within us. I I guarantee no one can take us away.” , said Svetlana Romashina, five-time Olympic champion in synchronized swimming.
Although he was absent from the European Football Cup for fear of contracting Covid-19, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an exception to receive the country’s athletes who would participate in the Tokyo Games.
Putin wished “successful participation” in the Olympic team and urged Russian athletes to respect the rules imposed in the Japanese capital.
In total, Russia will have 335 athletes in Tokyo, nearly 50 more than in the Rio edition, when all athletics representatives were suspended, as well as many from weightlifting, rowing, cycling, swimming and canoeing.
In addition, according to the Russian Olympic Committee (COR), 60% of Russian representatives have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and the rest already have antibodies against the disease.
50 medals target.
The committee aims for Russian athletes to achieve results similar to those achieved in 2016 and take third place in the final medal tally.
“We plan to fight for about 50 medals,” said COR President Stanislav Poznyakov.
At the Rio Games, the Russians won 56 medals, including 19 gold, and finished fourth overall, behind the United States, Great Britain and China.
Russian leaders expect good results in wrestling, judo, artistic gymnastics, fencing, boxing, swimming and synchronized swimming.
One of Russia’s rising sports stars is swimmer Kliment Kolesnikov, who set a world record for the 50m backstroke at the last European Championships.
In group sports, Russian hopes focused on women’s handball, women’s water polo and men’s volleyball.
Punishment for doping.
When a Russian-born athlete or a Russian team wins a competition at the Tokyo Games, the national anthem will not be played, but a melody composed by Piotr Tchaikovsky. On the medal board, the abbreviation representing the Russians would be changed to a reference to the National Olympic Committee.
It is a consequence of the doping scandal that affected athletics initially at the Sochi Games and then to winter sports athletes. WADA also decided to suspend the country from events for four years in 2019.
For synchronized swimming athletes, songs that mention the word Russia may not even be played.
Another restrictive measure imposed by WADA is to prevent the presence of the country’s government officials at the competition venues, although President Vladimir Putin may receive a special invitation from the organizing country’s government to avoid the ban.
Athletes with 10 athletes.
In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, there was only one representative of Russia, jumper Daria Klishina. Tokyo, in turn, will have all ten competing as neutrals, following authorization given by the sport’s international federation (World Athletics).
However, there are athletes from the country who will arrive in the Japanese capital with an air of favoritism, such as Maria Lasitskanen, three-time world champion in the high jump, and Anjelica Sidorova in the pole vault.
The question pertains to Sergei Shubenkov, the 110m world champion with European and barrier, who was guaranteed a return to the Games in the final stages of preparation, after being out of competition for nearly six months due to suspicion of doping.