Friday, 21 September, 2018

Russian athletes appeal Olympic ban in late push to compete

Branding agency presents Olympic ‘Moar than OAR’ uniforms for fans supporting Russia OAR- Olympic Athlete from Russia Facebook
Frederick Owens | 08 February, 2018, 09:57

CAS last week ruled there was "insufficient evidence" of anti-doping violations against 28 Russian athletes, who had also appealed their International Olympic Committee sanctions, and cleared them to compete.

CAS said decisions on the cases will be made in due course, without providing further detail.

"The IOC, we would never have expected this", Bach said February 4 in Pyeongchang, where the Winter Olympics start February 9.

In December, the International Olympic Committee banned the entire Russian Olympic team - preventing them from competing under their national flag.

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

A shot from the 2014 opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia.

"Based on the recommendation of the invitation review panel, the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OAR IG) has met to discuss the request by the suspended Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to invite 13 more athletes and two more coaches to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018", the statement reads.

It said the panel took into account extra information about the athletes sent to it by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which had "raised suspicion about the integrity of these athletes".

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South Korea's Unification Ministry said North Korea informed it Wednesday that Kim Yo Jong would be part of the delegation led by the country's nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam.

The IOC said in a statement the objective of the review panel was "to confirm that athletes can be considered clean for a potential invitation to the Olympic Winter Games". The IOC says the athletes have undergone rigorous anti-doping testing.

The IOC discovered that more than 100 urine samples were tampered with during the 2014 Sochi Games by Russia's sports ministry in an effort to hide steroid use throughout the course of the competition.

The IOC did not name the athletes, but Russian officials have said they include two gold-medal winners from the 2014 Sochi Olympics - cross-country skier Alexander Legkov and skeleton racer Alexander Tretiakov. John Coates, who heads the court, says decisions on some appeals are expected Wednesday. And then, what happened in the end, the athletes met in the tunnel to march in, they took each other by the hands and marched in to the stadium, and this is the Olympic Games.

The games in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang will start on Friday and last through February 25.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics open in two days, but the issue of which Russians are in - and which are out - is dominating the agenda of IOC President Thomas Bach.

The battle to compete may not be over even if the court upholds the appeals.

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