Olympics-CAS decision on Russian appeal on Friday

The Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in South Korea started to review appeals by 32 Russian athletes against the International Olympic Committee's decision not to invite them to this year's Olympic Games.

The Panel is now holding a hearing with the 32 athletes who filed their application at the CAS Ad Hoc division on 6 February 2018.

The hearing on the first case was held on Wednesday morning, but no decision was announced and the judges chose to adjourn the hearing until noon on Thursday.

But the IOC left open a loophole when it said a large group of "clean" Russian athletes could take part under a neutral flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia".

Among them is the short-track speed skater Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic champion and a legend in the sport.

The group of 32 athletes — including six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn, three former National Hockey League players and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin — failed to pass mandatory IOC vetting, imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Games.

South Korea says the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be part of the high-level delegation coming to the South for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Also among the six is speedskater Denis Yuskov, who served a ban for marijuana, and the biathletes Irina Starykh and Alexander Loginov, who returned in 2016 from bans for the blood-booster EPO.

The IOC is refusing to invite 13 of the 28 athletes that are still active to Pyeongchang.

"If there's a positive ruling, they'll fly in."Russian officials and athletes have indicated that not all of those who have filed appeals plan to compete if they win".

The IOC has refused to invite the 32 cleared Russian athletes to this month's PyeongChang Winter Games, noting there was evidence about them that had not been available to the IOC commission that had investigated them.

Justifying the decision to snub Russian athletes cleared by CAS, the International Olympic Committee said it had considered "additional elements and/or evidence" which was not available to the Oswald Commission, but was presented to the International Olympic Committee panel by WADA.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russian Federation might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for "Olympic Athlete from Russia". Many more have been barred.

The sponsorship money will help fund the $5.5 billion local operating budget, which Coates says is not expected to need public money.

The Russian presidential spokesman pointed out that "the IOC Charter and other IOC documents clarify the role of the Court of Arbitration".

The 32 failed to pass mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting, imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.


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