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CAS upholds ban on Russian athletes 

Lausanne (Switzerland), July 21 (IANS) The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected the Russian Olympic Committee’s appeal against the ban on its athletes from track and field competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“CAS rejects the claims/appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes,” the CAS said in a statement, reports TASS.

The verdict will not let Russian athletes, except long jumper Darya Klishina, take part in the upcoming Olympics in Rio.

CAS secretary Matthieu Reeb, following the court’s relevant ruling, said the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had no right to enter its national field and track athletes for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

The secretary general noted that the ROC could appeal the ruling in the Swiss Federal Court.

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now take a final decision on the issue of the Russian Olympic team’s participation at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games on July 24.

The IOC will take into account Thursday’s ruling by the CAS while arriving at a decision on the issue.

“The IOC takes note of the announcement of the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We will now have to study and analyze the full decision,” the IOC the said in a statement.

“The IOC decision on the participation of the Russian athletes will be taken in the coming days.”

The IAAF hailed the ruling to bar Russian field and track athletes from the Rio Olympics.

“The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has taken a strong stance on upholding the World Anti-Doping Code without fear and favour and is pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has supported its position,” the IAAF said in its statement.

“Today’s judgement has created a level playing field for athletes. The CAS award upholds the rights of the IAAF to use its rules for the protection of the sport, to protect clean athletes and support the credibility and integrity of competition,” the statement added.

Commenting on the Swiss court’s ruling, 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.”

“Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition,” Coe added.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko considers the ruling politicised and believes it has no legal grounds.

“I can express nothing but regret. We will now consider our further steps. I think this decision is biased and somewhat politicized and has no legal grounds,” Mutko told TASS.

On June 17, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) council ruled to extend the suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) from all international tournaments, including the 2016 Olympic Games.

IAAF’s anti-doping department had rejected personal applications from all Russian athletes for participation in international competitions, including the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, except for long jumper Darya Klishina, who lives in the United States.

The ROC and 68 iternational athletes from Russia had appealed to the CAS against the IAAF’s decision.

The Kremlin also slammed the CAS’ verdict, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

“We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable,” Peskov told journalists. “We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies.”

“We can only express our deep regret. Our relevant agencies will analyze the situation quickly and efficiently.

“The news is not very good, we will definitely have to analyze the situation taking into account this decision, so I would withhold comment on the issue for the time being,” Peskov added.

ARAF president Dmitry Shlyakhtin told TASS that Russian athletes have lost all chances of participating in the Olympics after Thursday’s ruling.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva believes that the IOC is Russian athletes’ last hope to participate in the Rio Olympics.

“The final decision will be announced by IOC President Tomas Bach,” Isinbayeva told TASS.

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