Rio 2016: Russia stages games for banned athletes in Moscow

Story highlights

At least 104 Russians banned from Rio

Alternate games in Russia to feature banned athletes

About 135 track and field athletes to compete

2012 high jump gold medalist Ivan Ukhov reportedly included

CNN  — 

“It’s a general tendency, the McLaren report is similar with other restrictions against Russia, in trade, policy and against certain individuals. There’s a powerful external pressure on Russia,” she told TASS. “The McLaren report has been presented just few days ahead of the Rio Olympics, and it’s been done this way deliberately. Now it all depends on the IOC decision.”

On the same day that its depleted Olympic team departed for the Rio 2016 Games, Russia organized an alternate competition for those who have been left behind.

The Stars 2016 Tournament was announced in a brief report run by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency Wednesday.

The competition taking place in Moscow is primarily a track and field event, however, so there were plenty of athletes to choose from.

Only one out of the 68 Russian track and field athletes hoping to go to the Olympics was granted permission to attend the Games. Long jumper Darya Klishina, who is based is the U.S., will be allowed to compete after demonstrating she is clean.

“About 135 track-and-field athletes are going to compete,” Yuri Borzakovsky, the head coach of the Russian athletics squad, told TASS about Stars 2016. “They include Olympic champions and medal holders as well as less renowned athletes forbidden to compete in Rio.

“Pole Vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva will not compete,” he added, referring to the two-time Olympic champion who launched a public campaign to have her ban lifted, only to be denied.

Current world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, as well as 2012 Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov, and 2013 world champion silver medalist triple jumper Ekaterina Koneva are reportedly taking part.

READ: Russian doping: Mad scramble to clear competitors

By the start of Wednesday, dozens of Russian athletes ranging from rowers to gymnasts to boxers were still in the dark about their participation in the Olympics.

Back in 2007, Nike unveiled an ad campaign promoting the U.S. women’s soccer team ahead of the World Cup Finals in China with the tagline “The Greatest Team You’ve Never Heard Of.”