Mon, Aug 01, 2016 - Page 12 News List

IOC to make ‘final decision’ on Russians by Friday

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said a three-member panel will make the “final decision” on which Russian athletes can compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which are to begin in less than a week.

The panel is to examine each case individually and make the “final decision” before Friday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said late on Saturday.

A ban on individual Russian athletes followed a report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stating that Russian doping of athletes had been organized by the Russian Ministry of Sports and aided by the Russian secret service at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Rejecting calls for a blanket ban on Russia, the IOC said on July 24 that individual sports federations should investigate athletes implicated in the report and decide who should be excluded.

So far, at least 117 individuals from the 387 that the Russian Olympic Committee wanted to enter have been excluded.

Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko said he expected 266 athletes to compete.

Boxing, golf, gymnastics and taekwondo federations were et to report their decisions.

The three-member panel is made up of Ugur Erdener, president of World Archery and head of the IOC medical and scientific commission, Claudia Bockel of the IOC athletes commission and Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Two Russian swimmers, Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, on Saturday launched the first challenge against the IOC sanctions excluding them from the Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was hold an emergency session in Rio yesterday to hear their appeal, according to sources close to the case.

Morozov, 24, and Lobintsev, 27, have called on the CAS to declare “invalid and unenforceable” an IOC order for federations to exclude athletes implicated in the investigation into Russia’s state-run doping system.

They were among seven Russians banned by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) last week after the order was published.

Morozov, a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay team who took bronze at the 2012 London Games, and Lobintsev, who took silver in the 4x200m freestyle team in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in the 4x100m freestyle in London, have taken their action against the IOC and FINA.

“Both swimmers request CAS to declare the decision of the IOC executive board of July 24, 2016, invalid and unenforceable,” a CAS statement said. “The swimmers also request that the decision of the FINA bureau of July 25, 2016, declaring both of them ineligible for the Olympic Games in Rio, be set aside.”

Morozov said in a letter to FINA president Julio Maglione last week that he had never failed a drug test by Russian and international experts.

“Throughout the last six years I’ve been drug tested by doping control agencies at my home and at the pool, at least once a month, and sometimes every other day,” he said in the letter published on Facebook.

“I am sure that in a justice-driven system I have full right to take part in the Olympic Games,” he wrote.

The CAS has already rejected an appeal by 67 Russian athletes against a ban ordered by the International Association of Athletics Federations before the IOC sanctions.

Athletics was the first sport touched by the doping controversy.

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