Olympic leaders took action on two fronts on Wednesday - ramping up efforts to keep drug cheats out of the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and recommending the inclusion of baseball-softball and four other sports for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The IOC executive board agreed to double its budget for pre-games drug testing to $500,000, to target athletes from Russia, Kenya and Mexico, and to extend retesting of stored doping samples to include medal winners from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
“We want to make sure any targeted athletes who have a positive result will be stopped from competing in Rio,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “That is for us the No. 1 priority.”
Meantime, the board backed the proposed inclusion of baseball-softball, surfing, karate, sport climbing and skateboarding for Tokyo. Under new IOC rules, local organizers can propose the inclusion of at least one additional sport for their games.
The five sports, which were proposed for inclusion last year by Tokyo organizers, were presented as a package and they will go to a vote of the full IOC at its session in Rio in August on the eve of the games.
“We have successfully passed the first gate,” Tokyo chief organizer Yoshiro Mori said.
The International Olympic Committee also called a summit meeting of sports leaders for June 21 to “coordinate and harmonize” the approach on eligibility of athletes for the Rio Games.
The meeting in Lausanne will come four days after the IAAF decides whether to uphold or lift its suspension of Russia’s entire track and field team in time for Rio. That sanction was imposed in November after a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel detailed state-sponsored doping, cheating and cover-ups in Russia.
The IOC said its pre-Rio anti-doping program would put “special focus” on countries whose testing program is non-compliant with global rules, naming Russia, Kenya and Mexico. Kenya, a powerhouse in long-distance running, is currently adopting anti-doping legislation it hopes will make it compliant.
The IOC said the testing will also target sports that WADA has declared “most affected” by doping.