Russian athletes plead to be allowed to compete in Rio

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian athletes have pleaded for their track and field team to be allowed to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Russian Olympic Committee athletes’ commission sent a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach on Wednesday, two days before the IAAF decides whether to lift the suspension of Russia’s track federation.

The IOC has scheduled its own meeting for next Tuesday to consider Russia’s eligibility.

Russia was suspended from international track and field in November after a World Anti-Doping Agency report alleged widespread, state-sponsored doping.

The athletes say in their letter that a ban from Rio would be collective punishment for the misdeeds of a minority and could cause “irreparable damage to the development of sport in Russia.”

The letter was provided to The Associated Press by athletes’ commission head Olga Brusnikina.