Beijing Olympics: Athletes told they are ‘unsafe’ for participation

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Five US sports stars initially received a lifetime ban from participating in the Games The governing body of athletics in the Americas says it is “unsafe” for athletes to…

Beijing Olympics: Athletes told they are 'unsafe' for participation

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Five US sports stars initially received a lifetime ban from participating in the Games

The governing body of athletics in the Americas says it is “unsafe” for athletes to compete in the Beijing Olympics.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last week banned five US and Kenyan athletes for doping offences.

The bodies were recently found guilty of running a global doping programme, with the IAAF threatening lifetime bans for those found guilty.

Blackburn Moors FC manager Dean Holdsworth told Radio 5 live’s The Breakfast Show that the athletes should “disappear”.

He added: “We now have double standards, where elite athletes and sportsmen are being penalised [while] criminals and corrupt officials walk free.

“This whole world is so warped that they can’t believe anything is happening.”

He did, however, suggest that the athletes be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

“I don’t think they should be banned from competing in Beijing but I think it is important that all of the top athletes across the world be banned from attending the Games of 2016,” Holdsworth said.

Analysis

Steve Kean, BBC Radio 5 live’s sports editor

We need to hear the thoughts of both the athletes in question and their legal representatives – perhaps although not necessarily simultaneously.

In the present situation, there is a danger of this being driven by the cacophony of anger and despair that is being expressed within the athletics world, but with specific references to the effects on the whole sport of the repeated sanctions imposed over the last year or so.

Is the IAAF worried that athletes who may be in breach of the prohibited drug-taking rules will simply decide that they cannot compete?

And then what? Will the punishments be so stringent as to deter the truly top athletes from trying to dope – and in turn prevent cheats from taking advantage of the potential rewards of those trying to stay clean.

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