BOA would support Sochi boycott

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LONDON: Britain’s skeleton Olympic gold medallist Lizzie Yarnold would be backed by the British Olympic Association (BOA) were she to boycott the 2017 skeleton and bobsleigh world championships in Russia over doping in the country.

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It comes a day after Latvia’s skeleton team said they were boycotting the championships, to be held February 13-26 in Sochi, because Russia had “stolen the Olympic spirit in 2014”.

Yarnold, who won Olympic gold in 2014 in Sochi, told the BBC in October she may opt out of the world championships because of concerns over doping.

Her fears will have been deepened after Canadian law professor Richard McLaren last week published the second part of his report into state-sponsored doping across Russian sports, including at the Sochi Games.

“For any governing body or athlete who took that stance, we’d support them entirely,” new BOA chairman Hugh Robertson told the BBC on Monday of the prospect of more countries snubbing sports events in protest at Russian doping.

Robertson, who played a key role in the hugely successful hosting of the London 2012 Olympics when he was sports minister, said however that personally he did not think boycotts were effective.

Robertson, elected last month to replace his friend Sebastian Coe as head of the BOA, also cautioned that people should take a step backwards before calling for Russia to be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics or before urging FIFA to take the 2018 World Cup away from Russia.

“We’re in a process, the International Olympic Committee issued a strong statement, a huge help would be if Russia admitted it has got it wrong and has a problem,” said Robertson.

AFP

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