Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to withdraw his country’s entire Athletics team from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games if the banned Russian athletes are prevented from competing in Brazil.
The threat follows the suspension of all Russian athletes from international Athletics competition and the national federation’s failed attempt to overturn the suspension, which was enacted after evidence of state sponsored doping.
“We will boycott Rio” bellowed Putin from the steps of the Kremlin, where he appeared in a skin tight lycra Russian team uniform.
“No Russians attended the Olympics in 1984 and the rest of the world suffered. If the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) does not let any Russian athletes compete in Rio, we will withdraw our athletes and the rest of the world will suffer again.”
The announcement follows an earlier threat from the President to compete in every Athletics event himself if the team was not reinstated.
Rumours also persist of a plan to organise a rival Athletics event in Russia in August this year. It is believed the President himself personally invited sprinters Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell to compete and has already persuaded former IAAF President Lamine Diack to open the games.
Current IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe declared he had absolutely no knowledge of any plan to organise a rival event.