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CAS relief for 28 Russian athletes

CAS relief for 28 Russian athletes

Sport's top court ruled there was "insufficient" evidence that the athletes had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping at the last Winter Games, hosted by Russian Federation.

The 28 who had their bans lifted could now seek late entry into the Pyeongchang Games, which open February 9.

"The result of the CAS decision does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited to the Games".

The United States Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement Thursday criticizing the IOC.

Forty-two of them appealed at CAS and hearings were conducted for 39 last week in Geneva, with CAS making it clear that it was looking at each case individually and not at organised practices.

It added: "The evidence put forward by the International Olympic Committee in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case".

The 11 whose appeals were rejected came from men's bobsled, women's cross-country skiing and women's ice hockey.

They included two-time bobsled gold medalist Alexander Zubkov. His re-tested samples had abnormal levels of salt, suggesting his urine tainted with steroid was swapped in the Sochi testing laboratory with previously stored clean urine, as Rodchenkov alleged.

Still, the CAS rulings will be seen as a victory for Russian Federation, which has long denied it ran a state-backed doping program.

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I find it hard to believe anyone could say we are not a multi-national team who sign good players, the best available. They pretend I am bad because I have [character]. "Show all fans what is true".

In comments reported by state news agency RIA Novosti, the Russian president says the ruling "can't fail to please us" and that it "confirms our position that the overwhelming majority of our athletes are clean athletes".

The International Olympic Committee says almost 170 Russians were already invited to compete under a neutral flag and these 28 athletes are not guaranteed to be invited back.

Nikitina tells The Associated Press "we were hoping for justice and it has prevailed", adding "now everything has returned to normal and I hope we can compete at the Olympic Games". Some have already retired from competitive sports.

"With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated", said the Lausanne-based tribunal. That affirmed the International Olympic Committee decision to disqualify Zubkov from his two gold-medal wins, so the two sleds driven by Steven Holcomb to bronzes in 2014 for the United States now seem certain to be elevated to silvers in the standings.

Pozdnyakov says the 15 he wants to send to Pyeongchang include athletes such as skeleton gold medallist Alexander Tretiakov and cross-country skiing gold medallist Alexander Legkov. Great Britain's upgrade to bronze in 2014 was therefore confirmed.

"With regard to the participation of athletes from Russian Federation at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018, the decision of the IOC Executive Board of 5 December 2017 remains in place", an IOC statement read. Both of the gold medal-winning two-man bobsled crew remain banned.

"Thus, the CAS decision only emboldens cheaters, makes it harder for clean athletes to win, and provides yet another ill-gotten gain for the corrupt Russian doping system generally, and Putin specifically".

Three more appeals, all involving retired biathlon competitors, will be heard later.

The physical facilities may have been satisfactory, but the internet service was slow, despite North Korea charging the visitors $4.60 every 30 minutes, said the pool report, with some journalists giving up on using it altogether.


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