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Rio 2016: Russian ban could boost Canadian track and field team

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WATCH: Russian track and field athletes have been banned from competing in this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after a scathing report uncovered a culture of cheating and corruption that reached to the top of the Russian sports world. Eric Sorensen looks at the impact — including on Team Canada – Jun 17, 2016

EDMONTON – Russia finished second in track and field medals at the 2012 London Olympics, with 16.

Canada finished way down in a tie for 33rd, with one medal, a bronze by Derek Drouin in high jump.

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Now that Russia’s track team has been banned from the Rio Olympics because of systematic doping, their absence could boost the hopes of several Canadians.

Here are the athletes or events most affected:

Women’s middle distance — Russians have long ruled the 800 and 1,500 metres, with a revolving door of runners shining on the global stage. Although Canada hasn’t selected its team, Melissa Bishop is the reigning world silver medallist in the 800.

Women’s long jump — Canada’s Cristabel Nettey was fourth at last year’s worlds, but Russian Darya Klishina has recorded a longer season’s-best jump — 6.84 metres to Netty’s 6.75.

Men’s high jump — Derek Drouin is the reigning world champion, but Russia has been traditionally strong in the event. Two Russians — Danil Lysenko and Ivan Ukhov — have jumped higher than Drouin this season.

Men’s and women’s throws — Jim Steacy, in hammer throw, Tim Nedow, in shot put, and Sultana Frizell, in women’s hammer, are Canada’s top throwers, in a discpline that has been fuelled by doping athletes.

Race walking — The walk events have been riddled with Russian dopers, and coach Viktor Chegin was banned for life after more than 25 doping cases by Russian race walkers. Russia pulled its race walk team from last year’s worlds where Canada’s Ben Thorne won a bronze. Then Thorne, Evan Dunfee and Inaki Gomez combined to win an unprecedented silver behind China at the world team championships in May.

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