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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Bruised and battered but still wearing a gold medal, the first Russian champion in Rio de Janeiro seemed to mirror his countrys standing at the Olympics. Cheap Air Max 720 Sale .Despite eye and hand injuries that might have ruled out a lesser rival, Beslan Mudranov upset the reigning world champion in his judo final. The victory showed that Russia is set to remain a serious contender for medals in Rio, even though it lost some of its top athletes to a widespread doping scandal.For us, this medal means a lot because people were putting a lot of psychological pressure on us, Mudranov said. A gold medal like this will really please our country.Russia will field no weightlifters and only one track and field athlete among the 278 athletes it has sent to Brazil, shutting down two of the main medal producers for the sports superpower. But it has been extremely successful in minimizing the damage elsewhere and escaping a blanket ban, with a mixture of a savvy public relations campaign and old-fashioned backroom lobbying.On the world stage, Russian prestige hasnt fared so well lately. The legacy of its Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 has been tarnished by the doping scandal, and on Sunday, it was kicked out of the Rio Paralympics over evidence of systematic drug cheating.The July 18 report by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren alleging a state-run doping cover-up across dozens of summer and winter Olympic sports had little effect on the Russian team. Its track and weightlifting athletes were likely to be excluded before the report came out because of other doping scandals, making up most of the 109 athletes who are missing in Rio from its original 387-member delegation.Russia is still likely to dominate in those events where it has been traditionally strong: gymnastics, synchronized swimming and wrestling.The country first staved off the threat of a blanket ban from the International Olympic Committee, then fought the imposition of further restrictions on its team from the sports federations which implement the IOC rules.One hastily imposed IOC rule was overturned, allowing several athletes caught in doping tests back on the Russian team, while even some implicated in the McLaren report as having benefited from a cover-up were reinstated.Yulia Efimova, the 100-meter breaststroke world champion, was initially banned with six other Russian swimmers who either had positive tests or were implicated in the scandal. Now, all are expected to be added to the start lists in Rio. Efimova, who received a smattering of boos after her name was announced as the winner of her heat Sunday, described the last six months as crazy and said she didnt understand whats going on.An IOC rule excluding Russians who have not faced regular drug testing was ignored by all sports, except for rowing, where Russia was reduced to fielding only one boat -- although it was never a serious contender for medals there.Russias lobbying power in the federations probably helped in judo, where President Vladimir Putin is the honorary head of the international federation, and fencing, where Putins billionaire ally Alisher Usmanov runs the sports world governing body.The most powerful man in the Olympics -- IOC President Thomas Bach -- has business and personal links to Russia. A former fencer, his sport has been boosted by Usmanovs financial support. Russia also has sustained minimal damage in events like swimming, where it also holds some influence.Meanwhile, an international public relations campaign spread Russias soft power worldwide and undermined McLarens report. The U.S. firm Burson-Marsteller distributed a speech by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urging the IOC to keep Russia in the games. Embassies in the U.S. and Canada pressed for an exemption for Russias top track and field star, Yelena Isinbayeva, although none has been granted for the pole vaulter.Russia also has sought to present McLarens report as flawed and overly reliant on the testimony of former Moscow anti-doping lab chief Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who now lives in the U.S., and admitted to covering up doping samples on what he said were orders from the Russian Sports Ministry. Rodchenkov had faced accusations in Russia of supplying banned substances in 2012, a case that was closed in unclear circumstances, and faces a criminal case in Russia over the destruction of samples.Reacting to the McLaren report last month, Putin said the officials who were implicated would be suspended for a further investigation -- although not Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.The Russian leader also made clear what he thought of the reports conclusions, calling Rodchenkov a man with a scandalous reputation.Can conclusions be trustworthy and compelling if they are exclusively based on the evidence of people like this? Putin asked.In recent weeks, however, evidence has emerged to back up some of Rodchenkovs allegations.Nine Russian weightlifters have been confirmed for failing retests of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. All tested positive for oral turinabol, a steroid that was widely used by the former East Germany and a substance that Rodchenkov said he had given athletes in a cocktail along with alcohol.This is a strong indication that they were part of a centrally dictated program, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said in upholding the Olympic ban on the Russian weightlifters.Russia got a boost when an IOC meeting before the Olympics saw senior officials take turns blasting WADA for what many saw as exceeding its mandate.Mutko was jubilant, telling the Russian state news agency Tass that Im very pleased that the IOC session supported what we insisted upon, adding that WADA needs to be reformed.Even with evidence of the mass manipulation of tests, Mutko said, WADA should not have dared to accuse Russia of state-sponsored doping. If you want to prove that there is some kind of manipulation going on in some laboratory, then you shouldnt accuse a country, he added.Despite being battered by the turbulence, Russia remains strong on the Olympic stage.The opening gold medal by Mudranov probably pleased Putin, who is often described as the worlds most famous judo fan and is so passionate about the sport that he recorded a DVD to help train athletes.---AP National Writer Paul Newberry contributed to this story. Cheap Air Max 720 .B. - Sebastien Auger made 44 saves as the Saint John Sea Dogs edged the visiting Acadie-Bathurst Titan 2-1 on Saturday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Air Max 720 Outlet Sale . Hamelin, who triumphed in the 500 on Saturday, edged out Victor An of Russia by 0.021 seconds to maintain his lead in the World Cup standings. Russias Vladimir Grigorev was third. In the relay, Canada took control six laps from the finish line to beat Russia and the Netherlands. http://www.airmax720outlet.com/ . Miller reached right to deflect Mikhail Grabovskis attempt with just over 2 minutes remaining in regulation, and then made two more saves in the shootout Sunday to give the Sabres a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals.Newcastle United remain in advanced talks with Rafa Benitez over plans to extend his stay as manager, Sky sources understand. Benitez has held two meetings with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to iron out the finer details of his proposed contract at the club.The first was in the managers office at St James Park immediately after the 5-1 win over Tottenham on the final day of the Premier League season and the second was at the Shirebrook head office of Ashleys Sports Direct business. There is understood to be a willingness by both parties to see Benitez remain as manager but the Spaniard wants assurances in writing that he will have full control over transfers and that there will be money to spend in the next two transfer windows. Air Max 720 For Sale. It is believed Benitez will also want to overhaul the scouting system at Newcastle, which could throw into doubt the future of Newcastles long-standing chief scout, Graham Carr.On Saturday, Benitez said he wanted two weeks to weigh up his decision and although there is now an urgency to get the deal done, it may be next week before the contract is signed. Also See: Rafa would bring harmony Townsend wants Rafa stay Carragher on Benitez Rafa: My heart says stay Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Adidas Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Nike Baseball Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys China Wholesale NFL Jerseys China Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys Authentic Cheap NHL Jerseys Canada Cheap Nike MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China NCAA Jerseys Cheap Nike NHL Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys Store Cheap Football Jerseys Store Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Jerseys NCAA China Jerseys NFL Cheap Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys ' ' '

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     head office of Ashleys Sports Direct business.
    head office of Ashleys Sports Direct business.
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