CAS: Russian track and field athletes remain banned from Rio Olympics

Russian track and field athletes remain banned from next month's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Thursday it has rejected appeals from 67 Russian athletes and the nation's Olympic Committee (NOC).

The ruling could add pressure on the International Olympic Committee to ban all Russian athletes from the August 5-21 Games, with a decision expected by Tuesday (July 26).

The Russian athletics federation was banned by the ruling body IAAF last year over widespread doping allegations and the ban was extended last month.

On Monday, a commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) spoke of state organised doping practices in many Russian sports and said the IOC should look into banning all Russian athletes.

The IOC executive board said Tuesday it would "explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes," and the IOC said after Thursday's ruling it will "study and analyse" it.

Russian athletes and the ROC appealed to CAS after 67 athletes were rejected to compete by the IAAF anti-doping commission which only cleared United States-based long jumper Darya Klishina to jump in Rio.

But the CAS "confirmed the validity of the IAAF’s decision" to rule athletes from suspended federations ineligible "unless they satisfy special criteria" and that those who do not satisfy these "are ineligible for competitions held under the IAAF Rules.

"These competitions include the athletics events at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. As a consequence, the CAS Panel confirmed that the ROC is not entitled to nominate Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," the CAS said.

Russia had named the 68 track and field athletes Wednesday among a team of 387 for the Rio Games.

With Klishina eligible, the other 67 are now barred from competing in Rio, including pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva who reacted upset.

"Thank you everyone for the funeral of track and field athletics," Isinbayeva told the Tass news agency.

She spoke of "a political order" and Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko struck a similar line when he spoke of "a subjective decision, a rather politicised decision, upon which there was no legal basis."

Mutko also suggested Russia could go to the IAAF ethics committee over the case, or even civil courts.

"I believe we’ll continue defending our honor and dignity and time has come to turn to a civil court," Mutko said.

The NOC meanwhile said it hopes that the IOC and the international federations will make "a fair and unbiased decision" and allow clean Russian athletes to compete in Rio.

The IAAF, in a statement, hailed the CAS ruling as it "has created a level playing field for athletes."

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. I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing."

The CAS also said that since the IOC was not part of the arbitration process it has no jurisdiction to determine "whether the IOC is entitled generally to accept or refuse the nomination by ROC of Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," be it as Russians or neutral athletes.

Last update: Thu, 21/07/2016 - 15:50

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