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Russian helicopter shot down in Idlib, officials say

File picture of an Mi-8 helicopter. Credit: Reuters

A Russian helicopter with five people on board has been shot down in Syria's Idlib province, officials said.

The Kremlin said the three crew members and two officers on board the Mi-8 military transport helicopter were dead.

Officials said the helicopter was shot down as it made its way back to base after delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they died a "heroic death" as the helicopter had tried to veer away from inhabited areas to avoid civilian deaths.

He said that Moscow would continue fighting international terrorism "on all fronts" despite threats from Islamic State.

On Sunday, Islamic State posted a nine-minute video message on YouTube, calling on its members to carry out jihad in Russia.

IOC panel will have final say over Russian athletes

Russian athletes need to be cleared to participate in the Rio Games Credit: Reuters

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel of three will have the final say on which Russian athletes can compete at the Rio Olympic Games.

The panel will review all decisions made by international federations, the IOC said Saturday.

Earlier this month the IOC set criteria for Russians to compete in Rio after the sporting world was rocked by revelations of state-backed doping in the country.

More than 250 Russian athletes have so far been cleared to compete in this year's games, which start next week.

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio Olympics

This is Russia's first outright ban in a sport at Rio 2016. Credit: Reuters

Russia's weightlifting team has been banned from competing at the Rio Olympics next month.

Russia avoided a blanket ban on competing at the Games, which start on August 5, earlier this week revelations surrounding a doping scandal.

But the International Weightlifting Federation has now banned Russia from competing in its sport entirely, saying Russian competitors were named in a World Anti-Doping Agency report exposing evidence of state-backed cheating.

"The integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians," the IWF said in a statement.

"Therefore an appropriate sanction was applied in order to preserve the status of the sport".

This is the first sport to impose an outright ban on Russia athletes competing in Brazil.

Seb Coe rejects Russia call to reconsider Rio athletes ban

IAAF president Sebastian Coe has rejected the Russian government's call for the federation to reconsider its ban on dozens of Russian athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics.

IAAF president Lord Coe insists Russia, not his organisation, is responsible for the country's drug-free athletes being banned from competing in Brazil. Credit: PA

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko wrote to the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) after the International Olympic Committee ruled it was up to individual sporting federations to decide if Russia's sportsmen and women should miss next month's Games because of the exposed state-sponsored doping scandal.

Lord Coe's reply said last month's ban of 67 Russian athletes, which followed their individual appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, will be upheld, adding: "There are no grounds for further review."

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Five Russian athletes banned from Rio

The five Russians won't appear in Rio. Credit: PA

Five Russian sprint canoeists have been banned from the Olympic Games after being implicated in doping irregularities, the International Canoe Federation has announced.

The ICF ruled five sprint canoeists - Elena Aniushina, Natalia Podolskaia, Alexander Dyachenko, Andrey Kraitor and Alexey Korovashkov - ineligible to compete at the Games, but stopped short of issuing a federation-wide ban.

Roger Black: IOC are 'passing the buck' over Russia

Olympic silver medallist Roger Black. Credit: Good Morning Britain

Former British Olympian Roger Black has said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are "passing the buck" by not banning Russia from Rio.

The 400m silver medallist told Good Morning Britain: "If there was ever an opportunity for the IOC to make a stance and say the future of the Olympics is a clean games, it was now.

"Russian athletes are already out in Rio with the less than two weeks to go before the Olympic Games and we don't know who is going to compete.

"What we're watching is an absolute mess and it's an opportunity completely missed."

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