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Moscow vows to continue defending Russian athletes' rights in courts

02 February 2018, 09:20 | Stacy Ballard

Phil Noble Reuters

Russian athletes ‘overwhelmed with joy’ by CAS ruling to uphold Olympic appeals

In a decision that could allow some of them to compete in the Winter Olympics, the top sports court ruled there was "insufficient" evidence that the athletes had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping atin Sochi.

The 28 who had their bans lifted could now seek late entry into the Olympics, which start February 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but the International Olympic Committee said "not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation".

The 28 who had their bans lifted could now seek late entry into the Pyeongchang Games, although Sky Sports News understands their participation in South Korea is unlikely. The Russian team initially won 33 medals in Sochi, including 13 golds, to put it ahead of Norway and Canada.

"Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation".

But WADA said the older BEREG-KIT 2016 - released for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro - should be used instead."To that end, through its anti-doping partners, WADA has managed to source enough kits of the earlier model to cover the entire testing program in place for Pyeongchang", WADA said.

John James Jackson, Bruce Tasker, Stuart Benson and Joel Fearon finished fifth, but the International Olympic Committee disqualified two Russian sleds who finished first and fourth following re-examination of the doping tests conducted at the time.

President Vladimir Putin poses for a picture during a meeting with Russian athletes and team members, who will take part in the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

The IOC expressed its regret over the CAS' decision saying that the court failed to take into account the allegedly proved existence of the state-run doping program in Russian Federation.

The IOC grumblingly suggested in response to the ruling that the court was being excessively tough, requiring "an even higher threshold on the necessary level of evidence" than it had done in the past.

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It was not immediately clear how numerous 28 Russians would now seek to compete.

It would be a considerable boost to the chances to Russian success, considering the likes of Sochi 2014 men's skeleton gold medallist Aleksandr Tretiakov and cross-country gold medallist Alexander Legkov are among those to have had sanctions overturned.

"I share the IOC's disappointment and I agree with the stand they have taken", Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman told AAP.

Russian Sports minister, Pavel Kolobkov said 28 athletes had been put forward to the International Olympic Committee for permission to compete at this year's Games.

Besides criticizing "Russia's unprecedented attack on fair play", USADA chief executive Travis Tygart says in a statement the IOC waited too long before issuing bans late a year ago and that "slamming dozens of cases through the process on the eve of the Olympic Games has not served justice and as such the integrity of the games has been sabotaged". "I feel for all clean athletes of the world right now".

"We will continue our peaceful legal fight for the rights of our athletes", Peskov said.

"I'm disappointed by this decision", he said.

"They now think that you are better off cheating or getting your nation to establish a doping system because even if it is discovered, the consequences are minimal".

However, the IOC have reiterated that "not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation" to the Games as part of the neutral Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation team.

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