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Relief in Rio! 'Clean' Russian athletes get a passport to the Olympic Games

Rio Olympics boost

The Rio Olympics look to have escaped a complete ban on all Russian athletes competing next month.

The International Olympic Committee is to allow Russian athletes with clean drug records to compete next month in Rio de Janeiro, Bloomberg News reports.

Only athletes who pass "reliable adequate international tests” will compete, and Russian tests were deemed invalid, according to an IOC statement.

Earlier it was feared there would be a complete ban of the country’s competitors after a massive state-backed doping program was exposed.

The Russian athletes can compete only if they are able “to provide evidence to the full satisfaction of his or her international federation" that they have satisfied anti-doping requirements, said the Switzerland-based IOC .

The key is "reliable adequate international tests”. Russian tests were deemed invalid, according to the statement.

Athletes who have ever tested positive for drug use will be barred, it said.

The IOC said Russian athletes no longer have "a presumption of innocence" because of the evidence showing widespread doping sanctioned by the country’s sporting officials and security agencies, said the Wall Street Journal

The WSJ quoted Thomas Bach, IOC president, in a teleconference on Sunday, “We have set the bar to the limit in establishing strict criteria that every Russian athlete will have to fulfill if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

“We have balanced desire, the need for collective responsibility with the right of individual justice of each individual athlete.”

A damning report into state-backed drugs cheating had prompted the World Anti-Doping Agency to call for a near total ban on Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympics, said Bloomberg.

Last week, an international arbitration court upheld the right of the International Association of Athletics Federations to declare the track-and-field athletes ineligible to compete at the games, This rejected a plea by the Russian Olympic Committee to allow 67 of its athletes to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

The new ruling will come as a relief to sports fans who feared that a total ban on Russian athletes would diminish the impact of the games.