Russian track & field team banned from Rio after appeal rejected

CCTV News

Russian track & field team banned from Rio after appeal rejected

Sport’s highest tribunal has rejected Russia’s legal appeal to lift a doping ban placed on its athletics team. Russian track and field athletes will not be able to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which start August 5.

The decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport could possibly lead to the International Olympic Committee deciding to ban the whole Russian team.

CCTV’s Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow. Follow Julia Lyubova on Twitter @julialyubova

Russian track & field team banned from Rio after appeal rejected

Russian track & field team banned from Rio after appeal rejected

Sport’s highest tribunal has rejected Russia’s legal appeal to lift a doping ban placed on its athletics team. Russian track and field athletes will not be able to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which start August 5. CCTV’s Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow.

Russian track and field athletes remain banned from international competitions, including the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected an appeal by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes to overturn the suspension implemented in November last year.

The decision has enraged Moscow.

“In general, unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that the Court made the decision,” Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko. “I think this decision, of course, violates the rights of clean and honest sportspeople and of course creates a precedent of collective responsibility.”

Russia’s sports minister went as far as calling it a “politicized” decision and said that the so-called McLaren report, which found evidence of rampant state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics, influenced the court’s verdict.

Mutko has not offered a resignation and remains in his role.

The 68 Russian athletes who challenged the International Association of Athletics Federation ban represent some of Russia’s finest athletes, including Yelena Isinbayeva, the 2012 Olympic pole-vault champion and Sergey Shubenkov, the world champion in 110 meter hurdles. They said a blanket ban is unfair as they have never been suspected of doping before.

“Even if we assume that everything we hear about us is true from A to Z,” Shubenkov said. “But there is an Olympic charter, there are higher ideals. But the Olympic Games was the only event which was the closest to these ideals, to unite the world, to educate about sports. The Olympic Committee is the only independent international organisation, they can afford to have a specific position that would satisfy everyone.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sports is sport’s highest tribunal. It said the Russians have the right to appeal to the Swiss federal tribunal within 30 days. However, an appeal can be only launched on “procedural grounds.”

The athletes said they will consider going to further courts to defend themselves, but with the Rio Games just 15 days away, the time is not on their side.

The ball is now in the court of the International Olympic Committee, who will decide whether Russia should be banned from the Rio games over state-run doping allegations. Russia said  it has selected some 390 athletes for the games in Rio, which will no doubt be nerve wrecking days for them.

Whatever the IOC decides, the doping scandal has dealt a grave blow to the nation that prides itself as a sporting superpower.


Robert Boland on the Russian athlete ban from the Olympics

For more on the Russian doping scandal, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Robert Boland, executive-in-residence of the Ohio University department of Sports Administration, about the international reaction to the IAAF’s ruling.