Sport

World's top sports court lifts lifetime bans on 39 Russian athletes

World's top sports court lifts lifetime bans on 39 Russian athletes”

An worldwide tribunal's decision to overturn lifetime suspensions and reinstate results for 28 Russian athletes accused of doping is a low point for fair play in sport, says a Canadian athlete who stands to lose an Olympic bronze medal because of the decision.

In the 28 cases, the CAS ruled "the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned".

It's unclear if the 28 Russian athletes will be eligible to compete in Pyeongchang, although the Associated Press reported that the attorney representing the athletes said they would seek to participate in the upcoming Games.

Chairman of the Anti-Doping Initiative, Alexei Kozlov, told Pravda.Ru that the recent decision of the International Olympic Committee to ban many clean Russian athletes from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was undoubtedly an act of political pressure.

Eleven more Russians were ruled Thursday to have been guilty of doping but had the lifetime bans imposed by an International Olympic Committee disciplinary panel two months ago cut to a ban only from the Pyeongchang Games.

In the latest case, CAS said its arbitrators weren't mandated to decide whether there was an organized doping scheme in Sochi but instead were strictly limited to determining whether evidence used by an International Olympic Committee disciplinary commission to sanction Russian athletes stood up in court.

The decision saw the athletes have their results from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics restored, while potentially offering them a chance to compete at Pyeongchang 2018.

The Canadian luge team was expected to get upgraded to bronze - the first Olympic medal for Canada in the sport - after Russians Albert Demchenko and Tatiana Ivanova were stripped of their results and received lifetime bans.

"This, of course, can not but give us joy", he said.

The ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which cited insufficient evidence, means seven Russian medals from the 2014 Sochi Games will be reinstated.

Plenty big enough to make the grotesque subterfuge of Sochi, the tampering with doping-control samples and covering up for Russian cheats, seem not so serious after all.

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All 28 Russian athletes can now seek late entry into the Olympics in South Korea next week.

Russian Federation was banned from the upcoming Winter Olympic games following a widespread doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi games.

It said it could challenge the CAS rulings at Switzerland's supreme court.

"We are very glad for our athletes", said spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

It was not immediately clear how numerous 28 Russians would now seek to compete.

Cross-country skier Alexander Legkov, who won gold in the 50 kilometres and silver in the 4x10 km race, and Alexander Tretyakov, who won gold in the men's individual skeleton, were among those to be cleared.

Kolobkov says "the criteria for not allowing in our athletes. were based on criteria which partly intersect with the conclusions" challenged in the appeal cases, "so this raises a lot of legal questions". "I feel for all clean athletes of the world right now".

"And we are hoping that this work will certainly continue", he told reporters.

CAS's verdict drew a withering response from Jim Walden, the lawyer of doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov. Thursday, a sporting court overturned a doping ban against 28 Russian athletes.

CAS reduced sanctions against a further 11 Russians, imposed after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, to now only ban them from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Its chief executive, Travis Tygart, said: "The IOC's failure to swiftly and decisively deal with Russia's unprecedented attack on fair play has eroded public trust in the values of the Olympic movement". "They invite whoever they want..."



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