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Banning Russia could inflict severe financial damage on Olympics

A top Russian track and field official says banning the country's athletes from the Olympics will inflict severe financial damage on the games.

'I would only compete under Russian flag,' says athletic coach

On Monday, a top track and field official warned that banning Russia from the Olympics could have severe financial implications on the Games. (Francesca Ebel/Associated Press)

A top Russian track and field official says banning the country's athletes from the Olympics will inflict severe financial damage on the games.

Russia was suspended by the IAAF in November, and the ban was upheld on Friday in a vote which appeared to have the backing of the International Olympic Committee.

All-Russia Athletics Federation general secretary Mikhail Butov says the absence of star Russians like pole vault world-record holder Yelena Isinbayeva and world 110-meter champion Sergei Shubenkov will hit the IOC in the pocket.

Butov says Russian stars are "a big part of world athletics and the competitions, the business, the incomes will all lose from their absence." Athletics will also become less significant "in society on a global scale," he warns.

'I would never do it' 

Furthermore, Russian athletics coach Yury Borzakovsky said on Monday he would not compete under a neutral flag at the Rio Olympics in August should the Russian team not take part in the games.

"I am a patriot of my country. I would only compete under Russian flag," Borzakovsky said at an athletics event in the central Russian region of Chuvashia.

"Every athlete has his own right to decide. In case someone wants to — he is welcome to. If the [Russian athletics] federation allows — let him compete. But for me personally — I would never do it."

The Russian track and field team has been suspended from athletics events in Rio because of doping allegations. The suspension leaves open the possibility that some athletes could compete as individuals if they can demonstrate they haven't used performance enhancing drugs.

With files from Reuters

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