Sport’s highest tribunal, Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) rejected Russia’s appeal against a doping ban for its entire athletics team from the Rio Olympics, which are starting on August 5. The decision made by CAS increases the possibility of that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now exclude Russia not only from field and track sports, but all others as well.
The ban was imposed last November by the International Association Athletics Federation (IAAF) after an independent report uncovered unchecked state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics. It was maintained in June after the IAAF Council ruled that enough progress had not been made in transforming Russia’s anti-doping programme. Sebastian Coe, President of IAAF said, “This is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing.”
Pressure on the IOC to take such a step increased this week when another report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed evidence of systematic state-sponsored doping by Russian competitors before and during the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi. Yelena Isinbayeva, one of the 68 athletes who are a part of the litigation, said “Let all these pseudo-clean foreign athletes breathe a sogh of relief and win their pseudo-gold medals without us.”
Six time Olympic sprint title winner Usain Bolt of Jamaica was quoted as saying, “This will scare a lot of people, or send a strong message that the sport is serious about cleaning up.” The IOC is expected to reach a final decision about whether Russia should be excluded from all sports at the Rio Games on Sunday, July 24.