IOC hails CAS ban on Russian athletes

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Pyeongchang (South Korea), Feb 9 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomed the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which dismissed applications filed by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against the IOCs decision not to invite them to participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, an IOC statement said on Friday.

“We welcome the decision, it has been taken in a spirit of fighting against doping and makes it clear for remaining athletes,” the statement said, as reported by Russia’s TASS news agency.

On Thursday, a CAS panel concluded the hearing of appeals, which 45 Russian athletes and two coaches had filed against the IOC’s decision not to invite them to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

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The panel of CAS arbitrators in charge of Russian athletes included Carol Roberts (Canada), Bernhard Welten (Switzerland) and Zali Steggall (Australia).

On Wednesday, CAS started considering appeals by 32 Russian athletes not invited to the Games, including Olympic biathlon champion Anton Shipulin, six-time Olympic champion in short track speed skating Viktor Ahn and two-time world champion in cross-country skiing Sergey Ustiugov.

Besides, the CAS panel also considered appeals filed by 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been slapped by the IOC with life-time Olympic bans, were later cleared by the CAS but were still denied IOC invitations to participate in the 2018 Olympics.

The 23rd Winter Games kicked off in PyeongChang on Friday and will continue till February 25.

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Doping-free athletes from Russia will participate in the Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’.

Earlier in the day, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed the CAS verdict.

“These decisions come as welcome news for WADA; as they will, for athletes and all others worldwide that care for clean sport and the integrity of the Games,” WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said in a statement.

“The timing of these decisions just before the opening ceremony in PyeongChang is good as it will reassure athletes and others that only Russian athletes who have met strict anti-doping criteria will be participating in the Games,” he added.

–IANS

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