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Court Reinstates 28 Russians Banned for Alleged Sochi Doping

  • VOA News

Matthieu Reeb, secretary general of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, speaks during a press conference about Russian athletes who are challenging the decisions taken by the Disciplinary Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC DC) ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 1, 2018.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld appeals by 28 Russian athletes who were sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee for an alleged doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The CAS said Thursday there was insufficient evidence that the athletes committed doping violations. It annulled the sanctions against them and reinstated their results from the 2014 Games.

The IOC said after the ruling that the 28 athletes who won their appeals would not be invited to participate in this month’s Olympics in South Korea.

Still no invite

“Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation,” the IOC said in a statement.

It further expressed regret at the court’s decision, saying it “may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping.”

For 11 other athletes who had appealed their sanctions, the CAS said there was enough evidence to show doping violations. But instead of keeping in place lifetime Olympic bans, it said those athletes would only be barred from participating in the 2018 games.

The court said its mandate was not to determine whether there was a wider effort on the part of Russia to manipulate drug tests at the 2014 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee banned Russian athletes from competing under the country’s flag during the games in South Korea because of the doping scandal, and instead those participating will do so under a neutral flag.

Kremlin pleased

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov welcomed the CAS decision and said Russia would continue to stand up for the rights of its athletes.

Those who saw their sanctions overturned Thursday include skeleton gold medalist Aleksander Tretiakov, cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov, and luge silver medalists Tatyana Ivanova and Albert Demchenko.

Bobsled gold medalists Aleksandr Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda were among those for whom the court said there was evidence of doping and sanctions would remain in place.

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