Friday 23 March 2018

IOC given green light to bar Russians from Olympics


A ban on Russia's track and field athletes competing in Rio has been upheld (AP)
A ban on Russia's track and field athletes competing in Rio has been upheld (AP)

Ben Bloom

Russia's hopes of sending any athletes to the Rio Olympics were dealt a major blow when the ban on their track and field stars was upheld, paving the way for a total exclusion across all sports.

Shut out from international competition since the uncovering of a state-sponsored doping regime, 68 Russian athletes took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a last-ditch attempt to have their ban overturned in time to compete.

Their efforts were unsuccessful, with the CAS deciding it should stay in place - which gives the green light to the International Olympic Committee to rule against any Russians lining up in Rio.

More than a dozen anti-doping authorities - including the World Anti-Doping Agency - have called on the IOC to announce such a sanction in the wake of a damning report detailing a doping programme between 2011 and 2015.

The IOC has already confirmed it is "exploring legal options" over whether to kick Russia out of the Rio Games and it had been eagerly awaiting the CAS decision. The IOC is now due to hold a teleconference on Sunday to decide whether to ban Russia in its entirety.

For Russia's track and field stars, including double Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva, any hopes of competing in Rio have been extinguished, with Isinbayeva calling the decision the "funeral of track and field athletics".

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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