Russia’s Olympic-hopeful athletes are training with a fierce determination, resolute in their aim of competing at the 2016 Games in Brazil, despite having been kicked out of world athletics by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last year for systematic doping.
The athletes have been training in a series of special domestic tournaments and have been banking their hopes on a possible lift on the ban before the summer games in Rio.
“I think that the Olympics without the Russian team is not the Olympics. Therefore they will permit Russia,” said Russian 800m champion Konstatntin Kholmogorov.
Some of the athletes are employing an approach favoured by sports psychologists of compartmentalised thinking: focusing on their training and performance, while leaving outside issues such as the uncertainty about their place at the Olympics, to others, the Daily Mail reports.
I think that that the Olympics without the Russian team is not the Olympics. Therefore they will permit Russia.
“Of course the main feeling is maybe not so good like previous years, because the full situation, unfortunately, is not lucky for us. It is difficult and tough times for all of us, for athletes as well. But in any case we are optimistic. We hope that logic will be first in this process and we hope that all clean athletes will compete in the Olympic Games,” said Russian Athletics Federation General Secretary Mikhail Butov.
The IAAF also stripped Russia of hosting next year’s World Race Walking Cup and the World Junior Championships, leaving them out in the cold.
Russia has a rich Olympics history having produced some of the world’s best athletes like Pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva who is a double Olympic gold medallist and a triple world champion.
The country also boasts hosting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.