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Belgian Track Officials Tell Soviets to Go Home

August 30, 1985

Charging that a Soviet delegation failed to adhere to International Amateur Athletic Federation requirements, Belgian track organizers said Thursday that Soviet athletes had been told to leave a meet in Belgium and go home.

Wilfried Meert, an IAAF organizer, said the Soviets had been told they would not be allowed to compete in today's Ivo van Damme meet at Brussels. Meert was angered by the composition of the Soviet squad, particularly the absence of women's world high jump champion Tamara Bykova and middle-distance runner Nadezhda Olizarenko.

"It was a farce," Meert said. "The Russian delegation landed in Brussels on Tuesday--but no Bykova and no Olizarenko. We planned the women's high jump especially for Bykova, and then they failed to send her."

IAAF Vice President Olan Cassell, in London, said the Soviet action was a breech of etiquette because the Soviet Union had pledged athletes and then canceled their participation at the last minute.

Organizers also said that Steve Cram of Great Britain, the world record-holder in the mile, will miss the rest of the Grand Prix season because of a hamstring injury suffered Monday.

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