31st Olympic Games Set to Open Under Shadow of Doping Scandal  

Doping scandal has already cast a shadow on the 31st edition of the Olympics to be held at Rio de Janerio, beginning on Friday. - Sakshi Post

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil did its best to roll out the red carpet for athletes, officials and visitors from over 200 countries for the 31st Olympic Games being held under the shadow of the biggest doping scandal afflicting the Russian players.

The Indian Story: The games, expected to be watched by a global audience of several billions, saw India’s own struggle with a drug scandal as its shot putter, Inderjeet Singh, was banned from going to Rio and its wrestler Narsingh Pancham Yadav won the approval of the national anti-doping regulator by the skin of his teeth, successfully claiming that his food had been spiked by a rival.

Even as an Irish boxer was held back for testing positive to a banned substance, officials here reiterated that no tolerance would be shown to those who took drugs to enhance performance. “The fight against doping is a top priority for the IOC, which has established a zero-tolerance policy,” a statement from the committee which oversees the games had stated earlier.

271 Russian athletes got approval from the International Olympic Committee to participate out of the original contingent of 389.

Approval for Russian Athletes: The International Olympic Committee on Thursday approved 271 Russian athletes to participate out of the original contingent of 389, banning some 30 per cent of the participants blamed on “state-directed” doping and cover-up. The IOC decision came just about 24 hours before the games extravaganza takes off with an opening ceremony at the Maracana stadium here on Friday evening (early Saturday in India).

The committee rejected calls to ban Russia entirely from the games, following report by World Anti-Doping Agency of wide-spread doping and cover-up by Russian authorities. The decision may have come as a relief to those who had been preparing for years to participate in the world’s most prestigious games. Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee told the media there was “good news” for the fans as “the majority” of the sports had been admitted in full. The entire track and field team of the country had earlier been banned after the scandal hit the headlines.

The opening day ceremony, in preparation for weeks, is estimated to be watched by over three billion people, where over 300 professional dancers and 5,000 volunteers will be performing.

The Zika Threat: Many athletes had decided not to compete at Rio, worried about the Zika virus, which can results in serious birth defects. Zika is carried by mosquitoes, although some vaccines have shown early promises against the virus. But these may still be years away from widespread usage.

“Sexiest” Opening Ceremonies of all Games: The opening day ceremony, in preparation for weeks, is estimated to be watched by over three billion people with Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen and Britain’s Judi Dench expected to participate where over 300 professional dances and 5,000 volunteers will be performing. Officials said it would be the “sexiest” opening ceremonies of all games, though it was not immediately clear what it meant, with most people speculating that there would be more “flesh” shown than has been the norm. The creative director of the ceremony, however, told the media that there will be far less money spent in Brazil’s show than had been done in London in 2012 or Beijing in 2008. He said you could do much more with “heart, without spending”. Executive producer, Marco Balich, had said on Tuesday that the ceremony would send out a message of hope. Brazil, he added, had the “last garden in the world” in Amazon and this needed to be protected, though the message would not be that the world would end because of global warming.

The stage is set for the 31st edition of the Olympics at Rio de Janerio, on Friday.

UN Chief in Brazil to Take Part in Olympic Torch Relay: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Brazil to take part in the Olympic torch relay on Friday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said.

The secretary-general has arrived in Rio de Janeiro where he will attend the opening of the Olympic Games and participate in the Olympic torch relay tomorrow (Friday). “He will soon be paying a visit to the Olympic Village, and meet the Refugee Olympic Team,” the spokesman said. The Olympic torch arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday by boat after a three-month tour of Brazilian cities. The 2016 Summer Olympics will began in Brazil from Friday and will run till August 21.


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