Russian Olympic chief sees daughter carry on family tradition in Tokyo

·2 min read
Russia's Olympic athletes attend a traditional prayer service ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Moscow

TOKYO (Reuters) - Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the head of Russia's Olympic Committee, beamed with pride as he posed alongside his daughter Sofia, a fencer who has arrived in Tokyo to continue the family's Olympic traditions.

Pozdnyakov, five-time Olympic medallist in fencing, won the title in the sabre individual event at the 1996 Atlanta Games, a feat his daughter is seeking to match 25 years later.

"My daughter, Sofia Pozdnyakova, arrived in Tokyo with the whole team yesterday," Pozdnyakov wrote on Instagram on Thursday in a post accompanying a picture of them.

"I cannot remember another time in the history of modern Russian sport when not only families but sporting dynasties were at the Games contributing to the road to Olympic medals for our country."

The 24-year-old Pozdnyakova, who is also a sabre fencer, won the world individual title in 2018 and was part of the team that won gold at the world championships in 2019.

Her younger sister Anna has represented Russia in 3x3 basketball.

"I'm very proud of my Olympic family," Pozdnyakov wrote.

More than 300 Russians are competing at the Tokyo Olympics, which run from July 23 to Aug. 8, but will do so without their flag and national anthem as part of doping sanctions.

Russian athletes are barred from competing at major international events, including the Olympics, with their flag and anthem until 2022. The country will compete in Tokyo under the name "ROC", an acronym for the Russian Olympic Committee.

The ban is aimed at punishing Moscow for providing global anti-doping authorities with doctored laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

It does not limit the number of Russians eligible to compete at the Games, although separate doping sanctions have led the global athletics authorities to cap at 10 the number of Russian track and field athletes allowed to compete in Tokyo.

Russia has in the past acknowledged some shortcomings in its implementation of anti-doping policies, but it denies running a state-sponsored doping programme.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris)