President Vladimir Putin, centre, apologised to Russia athletes for not protecting them more from the doping scandal when he met some of them due to compete under the OAR banner at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images

 

Ukraine triumphed in a frantic mixed relay event 

Putin’s regime has already spent far more on preparations for the 2018 World Cup than any other host country in history, not only boost his and Russia’s prestige but also and perhaps even more important to use the event to pay off his cronies, Sergey Mitrokhin says.

 

Yuliia Dzhima was 9th overall to give Ukraine a second top 10 position, matched only by Germany and Italy. Photo: Vita Semerenko

 

Australian #1 Ashleigh Barty entered the Brisbane International with fans expecting her to sail home with silverware. Instead all she got was a resounding thumping to set her 2018 campaign off to a disappointing start. As for Tsurenko, she booked a second-round clash with 2012 Brisbane International champion Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

 

Svitolina won five titles in 2017 on her way to a career-high world ranking of number three.

Anna Muzychuk demonstrates again that Ukrainian women are strong and will not compete where women’s rights are violated

 

If it is anything like the last global sporting extravaganza held in Russia, next year's FIFA World Cup will be the most political tournament since 1934 when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini presided over the action.

 

 

When it comes to athletes banned for doping, the IAAF has given Russia the top prize by a country mile. Not exactly covering itself in glory, Ukraine came in fourth with 19 confirmed cases compared to Russia’s 71.

 

 

Following a meeting of the IOC's executive board in Lausanne on Monday, IOC President Thomas Bach announced a series of sanctions against Russia over evidence of systematic, state-sponsored doping outlined in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report compiled by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. 

 

 

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