Russia has filed an appeal against the doping ban barring its athletics team from competing at the Rio Olympics. Under the current criteria, only two athletes could take part, the Russian Olympic Committee said.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has challenged the ban on its track and field athletes by filing an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the committee said on Sunday.
Should Russia win the appeal, the application deadline for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games "will be extended" to allow Russian athletes to apply, the ROC's legal department head Alexandra Brilliantova told the Russian TASS news agency.
ROC spokesman Konstantin Vybornov also confirmed the appeal in an email to the Associated Press.
The case could be heard on July 19 and would involve the country's Olympic committee and numerous Russian athletes, according to TASS.
Few eligible athletes
The track and field world governing body, the IAAF, suspended Russia last November following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report which uncovered widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russia. The IAAF upheld the Olympic ban last month.
The IAAF ban, however, allows for some Russians to compete at the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they have been based outside of the country and undergo testing from a non-Russian anti-doping agency.
Under the current criteria, only two Russians out of over 80 who applied to the IAAF would be eligible to compete, the ROC's Brilliantova said on Sunday.
Although she did not name the two athletes, they are believed to be the US-based long jumper Daria Klishina and the Italy-based pole vaulter Alyona Lutkovskaya.
The IAAF already approved an application from Yulia Stepanova, a Russian runner and doping whistleblower who provided testimony and undercover footage of apparent doping confessions for the WADA report on Russia.
The Summer Olympic Games in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro are set to begin on August 5, with the track and field competitions starting on August 12.
rs/bk (AP, dpa, SID)