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Star Pole Vaulter Bubka Calls For Protection Of Innocent Athletes

Legendary Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka, a key member of a panel that will decide whether to ban Russian athletes from international competition, says he wants to protect the innocent.

In interviews with the press on November 12, Bubka, who since vaulting to fame in the 1980s has become the vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the association should take a case-by-case approach to the doping charges against Russian athletes and punish the guilty while sparing the innocent.

"All those involved, officials, managers or coaches, must pay the price," he said in an interview with the AIPS world sports journalists association.

"But ordinary athletes, those who have nothing to do with this matter, should not have to miss a single competition."

Bubka told the Associated Press: "It is our duty to protect the clean athletes.... They should not suffer."

Bubka missed out on the chance for a widely expected gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles because the Soviet Union boycotted the games.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Interfax