Rio Olympics 2016: Russia ban will not damage Games, says British Olympics chief

Russian athletes are waiting to discover which of them will be allowed to compete in Rio
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Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
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Rio 2016 will not be devalued by the absence of some Russian athletes, says British Olympic Association chief executive Bill Sweeney.

An International Olympic Committee panel will decide which Russian competitors can take part in the Games, amid claims of state-sponsored doping.

"I don't think it devalues the Games in any sense," Sweeney told BBC Sport. "You'll see fantastic competition and see records tumble."

The Olympics begin in Brazil on Friday.

Initially, the IOC said individual sports' governing bodies must decide if Russians could compete, but has since ruled the new panel "will decide whether to accept or reject that final proposal".

More than 250 Russian athletes have so far been cleared.

"It's not unsettling for us," Sweeney said. "It's a shame the whole thing wasn't sorted out a lot earlier before the Games got started.

"We fully support the strongest possible sanctions for athletes who have been cheating."

Graphic showing which Russian Olympic teams will be allowed to compete in Rio

The IOC's decision not to apply a blanket ban on Russian athletes was criticised by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which called for such a sanction after its independently commissioned report found evidence of a four-year "doping programme" across the "vast majority" of Olympic sports.

Sweeney said: "It's not an easy decision to make.

"You've got the question of collective responsibility against individual justice and I'm sure the IOC president Thomas Bach had a number of very difficult legal issues to consider there."

Sweeney indicated the presence of Russian athletes at the Games would make little difference to Team GB's medal chances.

"It doesn't impact us so much actually when you look at the Russian athletes and where we are strong," Sweeney said.

"From a medal point of view, the impact upon us is quite marginal."

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