(Reuters) – The ban on Russia’s track and field athletes from the Rio Games will scare drug cheats and help cleaning up the sport, Jamaica’s six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt has said.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected Russia’s appeal against a doping ban for its entire athletics team from next month’s Games.
The ban on Russia’s track-and-field team going to Rio was imposed last November by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after an independent report uncovered rampant state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics.
It was maintained in June after the IAAF Council ruled that not enough progress had been made in transforming Russia’s anti-doping programme.
“This will scare a lot of people and send a strong message that the sport is serious about cleaning up,” Bolt told British media.
“If you have the proof and you catch somebody I definitely feel you should take action.”
Russia won the third biggest overall medal haul at the London Olympics in 2012.
The decision by the CAS, sport’s highest tribunal, increases the possibility that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now exclude Russia from all sports, not just track and field, in Rio de Janeiro.
“If they feel like banning the whole team is the right action, then I am all for it,” Bolt said.
“Rules are rules and doping violations in track and field are getting really bad, so thumbs up.”
Bolt was named in the Jamaican Olympic team in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m races despite an injury that kept him from qualifying at trials.
He was confident he will be fully fit before Rio.
“My hamstring is good. I have no issue right now,” the 29-year-old said.
“I had a strain. If I’d competed I probably would have torn my hamstring really bad, but I was never really worried. I know I’m in good shape.”
(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)