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What a four-year doping ban would mean for Russia

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The 1980 Olympics took place in Moscow but Russian competitors face a ban from competing at the 2020 and 2022 winter and summer Games over doping allegations © AFP / Yuri KADOBNOV

Lausanne, Switzerland, Dec 8 – The World Anti-Doping Agency, whose executive committee meets in Lausanne on Monday, is set to punish Russia’s complicity in a state-sponsored doping programme with a new four-year ban on Russian sportsmen and women.

It is likely to present more difficulties for Russian athletes wanting to compete on the world stage and for federations who are planning to stage events in a country that has often been a welcoming haven for some of the world’s less wealthy sports.

However, football and Formula One events in Russia would be exempt.

Here is what the ban would mean for Russia in more details:

– The Athletes –

Russia would be banned for four years from the Olympic and Paralympic Summer and Winter Games. That rules an official Russian team out of Tokyo 2020 and the Beijing Winter Olympics of 2022. It would mean Russian competitors who have proved themselves above doping suspicion would have to compete under the ‘neutral’ Olympic flag. That was the case at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, when 168 Russians took part in 15 sports.

Beyond that, there would be no official Russian team at the 2020 summer and winter Youth Winter Olympics.

They would also be barred from all other multi-sport competitions such as the European Games and the Universiade as well as any world championship organised by any of the signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code, which includes the International Olympic Sports Federations.

Russian athletes and their coaches would only be allowed to attend these competitions if they demonstrate that they have nothing to do with the institutional doping system put in place in the country between 2011 and 2015.

In this case, they would again compete under the Olympic rather than the Russian flag.

No official or representative of the Russian government would be allowed at these events, including the president and the top officials of the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

– The Events –

For four years, Russia would not be permitted to host or submit a bid to host any of the events listed above.

On top of that Russia would not be able to become a candidate to host the 2032 Summer Olympics whether or not the bidding process falls within the four-year window.

Any competition that has already been awarded to Russia which is scheduled to take place during the four-year ban must be withdrawn and reassigned unless, according to WADA, “it is impossible to do so from a legal or practical point of view”.

Clarification will be required regarding federations which are unwilling to review their plans, notably the 2022 World Men’s Volleyball Championships and the 2023 Summer Universiade which are both scheduled for the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Questions will also be asked about the Wrestling Worlds which are planned for Krasnoyarsk in 2022.

Some competitions, however, will not be affected, such as four Euro 2020 matches, including a quarter-final, and the 2021 Champions League final, all of which are taking place in St Petersburg.

WADA justified these exceptions last month by saying the competitions were “not multi-sport major events or world championships but rather regional/continental single-sport events”.

The same exemption would apply to events which make up one stage of a world circuit such as the Russian Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi.

– The Administrators –

No representative of the Russian government would be permitted to work for or sit on the committee of any signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code, which effectively means any international sports federation.

This ban does leave the door open to any Russian citizen who does not officially represent the Kremlin or the government.

Whether this will extend to President Vladimir Putin, who is the honorary president of the International Judo Federation, has not been specified.

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Solberg Jnr replaces Pierre-Louis for WRC Safari – KBC

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Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team has made a change to it’s WRC2 team for Safari replacing Pierre-Louis Loubet with 19 year old Oliver Solberg.

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The change of crew hands young Solberg an opportunity to resume his family dream on the fabled Safari which was first held from 27 May to 1 June 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Solberg Senior finished the WRC Safari 5th on the 1999 and 2000 editions driving a Ford Focus and navigated by his eventual Championship- winning navigator Phil Mills. In 200 and 2002, Petter retired on Safari after he lost a wheel and suffering engine gremlins on both occasions.

Oliver was forced to withdraw from last week’s Rally Italia Sardegna after his father, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Oliver was gearing up for his second top flight World Rally Championship outing with Hyundai at last weekend’s s Italian event.

However having been in contact with his father, Oliver was compelled to remain in quarantine in a hotel in Porto for 14 days as per the FIA Appendix S regulations.

The FIA’s Appendix S COVID-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.

“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” The 19-year-old Solberg told www.motorsport.com last week.

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WRC Safari Rally Event Secretary Helen Shiri confirmed Oliver’s Safari participation saying: “Hyundai WRC 2 team car number 7 has changed the crew from Driver Pierre-Lous and co-driver Florian Haut-labourdette both from France to Oliver Solberg (Swedish) and  Co-driver Aaron Johnston (Ireland). The car, a Hyundai i20 Coupé, remains intact.”

Meanwhile, it’s been a meteoric rise for the son of world champion Petter.

Less than two years after his maiden rally in a four-wheel drive car, the teenage sensation was competing at the WRC’s top level.

Aged just 17, Oliver became the youngest winner of a European Championship rally in 2019.

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Solberg’s early years were spent racing in crosskarts.

In 2012 he won the Norwegian Championship before a step up to a higher class brought consecutive title wins in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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He also followed in his father’s footsteps to join Subaru Motorsports USA. He drove a latest-spec Impreza STI, winning three of the six rounds

After making his WRC debut at the 2019 Rally GB, Solberg stepped into a full WRC campaign in 2020, driving his own Polo R5 alongside a partial campaign with Skoda Motorsport.

The WRC returns to Africa for the first time since 2002. The Safari of old has evolved to fit the modern-day WRC, but its character remains with challenging closed dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic wildlife.

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Three more suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent spate of robberies targeting motorists along the Southern by-pass.

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The three were arrested in Kibra by detectives based in Langata.

Their arrest follows a detailed analysis and investigations of the robberies, with detectives employing cyber and forensic analysis techniques to identify the beneficiaries of the crimes.

Boniface Winjira Unganyi, the proprietor of Basement Crew mobile shop within Lindi in Kibra, was arrested as the key suspect after a total of 102 mobile phones suspected to have been stolen from victims were recovered from his shop.

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Also arrested were 35-year-old Alex Mboya, who was found in possession of a victim’s phone, and a 16-year-old minor, studying at a secondary school in Langata.

Five other suspects have been arraigned in recent weeks in connection with the violent robberies.

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