CAS upholds ban on Russian athletes

Russian-athletesLausanne (Switzerland), (IANS) The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) appeal against the ban on its athletes from track and field competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“CAS rejects the claims/appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes,” the CAS said in a statement, reports TASS.

The verdict will exclude Russian athletes, except long jumper Darya Klishina, from the upcoming Rio Olympics.

Following the ruling, CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said the ROC could appeal against the decision in the Swiss Federal Court.

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now take a final decision on the issue of the Russian athletes’ participation in the Rio Olympics on July 24.

The IOC will take into account Thursday’s ruling by the CAS while arriving at a decision on the issue.

“The IOC takes note of the announcement of the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We will now have to study and analyze the full decision,” the IOC said in a statement.

“The IOC decision on the participation of the Russian athletes will be taken in the coming days.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) hailed the ruling.

“The IAAF has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favour and is pleased that the CAS has supported its position,” the IAAF said in its statement.

“Today’s judgement has created a level playing field for athletes. The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition,” the statement added.

Commenting on the CAS’ ruling, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said,”While we are thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti doping code have been supported, this is not a day for triumphant statements.”

“Beyond Rio the IAAF taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition,” Coe added.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko slammed the ruling as politicised and believes it has no legal grounds.

“I can express nothing but regret. We will now consider our further steps. I think this decision is biased and somewhat politicized and has no legal grounds,” Mutko told TASS.

“We recognize and respect the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This is a judicial body but the IAAF’s behaviour and persistence cause indignation. Corruption has been exposed in it and criminal proceedings are under way against its former president (Lamine Diack) and he is under home arrest in France. We have also read about how Sebastian Coe got the seat of the organisation’s president. Our athletes and we intend to apply to the ethics committee,” he added.

“One should not be aiming at suspending and punishing the whole country but must aim at setting up a system, which can be trusted by everyone.

On June 17, the IAAF council ruled to extend the suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) from all international tournaments, including the 2016 Olympics.

The IAAF’s anti-doping department had rejected personal applications from all Russian athletes for participation in international competitions, including the Rio Olympics, except for long jumper Darya Klishina, who lives in the United States.

The ROC and 68 international athletes from Russia had appealed to the CAS against the IAAF’s decision.

The Kremlin also slammed the CAS’ verdict, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

“We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable,” Peskov told journalists. “We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies.”

“We can only express our deep regret. Our relevant agencies will analyze the situation quickly and efficiently.

“The news is not very good, we will definitely have to analyze the situation taking into account this decision, so I would withhold comment on the issue for the time being,” Peskov added.

ARAF president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said that Russian athletes have now lost all chances of participating in the Olympics.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva believes that the IOC is now the Russian athletes’ last hope.

“The final decision will be announced by IOC President Tomas Bach,” Isinbayeva said.

ROC official Gennady Alyoshin said the recent report of the WADA’s independent commission influenced the CAS’ decision.

“To be honest we hoped for the positive ruling as we had done enormous work to overcome the anti-doping crisis. We believe that we have fulfilled all set criteria,” Alyoshin said.

“However, it seems that all the processes were affected to some extent with WADA’s recent report and Rodchenkov’s statements in the background.”

The Czech Olympic Committee also decried the ban.

“The punishment for all the athletes, even in the form applied only to track and fielders, is totally unacceptable and unjust,” Czech Olympic Committee President Jiri Kejval said in an interview published by the Lidove Noviny newspaper.

Medaram Jathara

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