‘CAS ruling should clear Russian Olympians of all suspicions’

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Moscow, Feb 5 (IANS) Recent decisions made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the appeals of Russian athletes against their life-time Olympic bans should clear national Olympians of all suspicions, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier issued a statement declining a request to send invitations to the Games to 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been cleared by the Swiss-based court, reports Tass news agency.

“We regret over this decision of the IOC,” Peskov told journalists. “We believe that the CAS ruling should clear our athletes of absolutely all suspicions. We are confident that the CAS ruling has once again proved that such [doping abuse] allegations are ungrounded.”

Peskov also said that Russia continued negotiations with the IOC on the issue of protection of Russian athletes’ interests and their participation in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

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“We carry on with our negotiations with the IOC at the expert level, firstly, in the direction of protection of our athletes’ interests and restoration of justice, secondly, in the direction to secure the participation of athletes from Russia in the Olympic Games in PyeongChang,” Peskov said.

The IOC Review Panel, chaired by Valerie Fourneyron, declined on Monday a request from Russia to invite 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been cleared by the CAS of their Olympic life bans, imposed earlier by the IOC over doping abuse allegations at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Following the CAS ruling, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) requested the IOC to invite 13 Russian athletes and two coaches to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

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Among them were skeleton racers Maria Orlova, Aleksandr Tretyakov and Elena Nikitina, cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov, Evgeniy Belov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Natalia Matveeva and Yevgeniya Shapovalova, speed skaters Olga Fatkulina and Alexander Rumyantsev, luger Tatiana Ivanova, as well as coaches Albert Demchenko and Sergei Chudinov.

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the whole Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’

The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.

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The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang from February 9 to 25.

–IANS

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