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Sports

Russia makes final plea to IAAF over athletics suspension

Russia's sports minister has asked its athletics suspension be overturned ahead of the Olympic Games in Brazil. The sport's world governing body is set to make a decision on the ban at a meeting in Vienna.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko made a last-gasp plea to the IAAF Council on Friday for the country's doping ban to be overturned.

The council is set to meet in the Austrian capital Vienna to decide whether to uphold the suspension of Russia's federation or allow the country's athletes to compete in the Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

Amid a series of allegations of state-sponsored doping and corruption, the IAAF, the International Association of Athletics Federations, suspended the country's association as a full member. A report Wednesday from WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, said that

more than 736 tests between February 15 and May 29 this year were thwarted by Russia.

Mutko, however, said in an open letter to IAAF president Sebastian Coe that the country has attempted to reform its anti-doping system.

"We firmly believe that clean athletes should not be punished for the actions of others," he said. "Russia is doing everything possible to ensure our athletes are a part of clean and fair Olympic Games.

"In light of our efforts, I urge you to reconsider the ban on our athletes," he added. "Clean athletes who have dedicated years of their lives to training and who never sought to gain unfair advantage through doping should not be punished for the past actions of other individuals.

The International Olympic Committee is slated to make a final decision on whether Russia will compete at Rio on Tuesday.

rd/dr (AFP, AP)

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