More Russian athletes appeal Pyeongchang ban to CAS

Russian President Putin attends a meeting with Russian athletes and team members who will take part in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games outside Moscow
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07 February, 2018

Pyeongchang: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) signalled that Russian athletes cleared to compete at the Winter Games will come in for heavy scrutiny after whisking more than half the women's ice hockey team away for testing shortly before a training session.

However, The IOC maintained that clean athletes have the right to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Games as the "Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation".

Just three days before the start of the Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it opened arbitration proceedings following an urgent request from the 32.

"We expected that the CAS decision would dispel all suspicions against the athletes", Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The IOC has banned Russian Federation from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics starting later this week over "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system in Sochi but 169 athletes with no history of doping have been invited to compete as neutrals.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has invited 169 Russians to compete as independent athletes in Pyeongchang after their country was banned over the Sochi doping scandal.

According to the statement, the grounds for the lawsuit were the non-transparent nature of the criteria that has been applied, the discrimination based on citizenship grounds, the illegal nature of the decision, failure to comply with the CAS verdict, damage to reputation, dignity and professional careers.

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Pound argues that "we talk more than we walk" on anti-doping, as the IOC allowed Russians to compete under the Olympic flag, rather than issuing a blanket ban.

CAS added that as well as short-track speedskating great Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be held from February 9 to 25.

After the CAS decision, Russia's Olympic Committee requested that 13 active athletes and two who had become coaches should be allowed to participate in the February 9-25 Games but the IOC has refused to extend invitations to them.

At a meeting in Pyeongchang on Tuesday, Pound said: "The IOC has not only failed to protect clean athletes but has made it possible for cheating athletes to prevail against the clean athletes".

Even if the athletes' appeal was successful it was highly unlikely for any of them to compete in South Korea. Although it confirmed 11 others had committed doping offences, it reduced their lifetime Olympic bans to suspensions from this year's Games in South Korea.

Bach is sure be grilled by the full International Olympic Committee membership about the decision to exclude many Russian athletes for the Games despite a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that overturned doping bans for many of them.

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