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Rio 2016: Russia loses doping appeal

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Posted at 7:21 AM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 07:21:01-04

Russia has failed in its quest to have a ban on its track and field athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games overturned.

The Court for the Arbitration of Sport rejected the appeal made by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 athletes Thursday.

Russia was suspended from track and field events by the International Association of Athletics Federations — known as the IAAF — back in November 2015.

That came after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency report which uncovered a culture of state-sponsored doping.

“Today’s judgment has created a level playing field for athletes,” said the IAAF in a statement Thursday.

“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.”

Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF, added: “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.

“I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude.

“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.”

Kremlin reacts

The Kremlin reacted to the verdict with President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary criticizing the decision to issue a blanket ban on all track and field athletes.

“We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable,” Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russia’s Tass news agency.

“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,” the he said before adding “our relevant agencies will analyze the situation quickly and efficiently.”

Further trouble?

With Russia’s track and field stars having lost their appeal, attention now turns to the entire Olympic team.

On Monday, the IOC was told it should consider banning all Russian athletes following allegations of “state-sponsored doping.”

The IOC said it would be “exploring legal options” after an independent WADA-commissioned report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren had found urine samples of Russian athletes had been manipulated across the “vast majority” of Summer and Winter Olympic sports from 2011 through to August 2015.

Russia finished top of the medal table at the Sochi Games two years ago — wining 33 medals, 13 of them gold.

But McLaren concluded that Russia’s “Ministory of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB, CSP and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories.”

The FSB is Russia’s federal security service while the CSP is involved in the training of Russian athletes.