Russian athletes make further appeals against Olympics ban | News | DW | 02.08.2016
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Russian athletes make further appeals against Olympics ban

At least 18 Russian athletes have presented appeals to the international sports tribunal against being excluded from the Rio Olympics. Russia stands accused of doping its athletes.

Russian canoeist Andrey Kraytor and 17 Russian rowers made last-ditch appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is holding special hearings in Rio to handle the Russian cases. CAS is already dealing with a number of appeals made by three Russian swimmers, a wrestler and the Russian weightlifting federation. About 30 Russians in total have now appealed against exclusions, directly or indirectly.

Russia has been at the centre of a new doping scandal after an independent investigator, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, said in a report that there had been widespread state-backed doping in Russia.

CAS said it would announce on Tuesday whether more hearings would be needed in the cases of swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev. Another appeal by Yulia Efimova was adjourned and the case of wrestler Viktor Lebedev would follow, it added.

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Balancing act for IOC president Thomas Bach

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach meanwhile expressed his faith in local organizers ahead of the Rio Games, and defended his decision not to impose a blanket ban on all Russian athletes in connection with doping.

"If proven true, such a contemptuous system of doping is an unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games. Because of the seriousness of the allegations we could not uphold the presumption of innocence for Russian athletes. On the other hand, we cannot deprive an athlete of the human right to be given the opportunity to prove his or her innocence," Bach said.

"You cannot punish a human being for the failures of his or her government if he or she is not implicated," he added.

The IOC executive board had decided not to ban the entire Russian Olympic team from the Rio Games, but had ordered all individual sports federations to apply new criteria to decide which athletes could be allowed to compete. Russia denies any government backing for doping, however, its sports minister Vitaly Mutko has been barred from attending the Rio Games.

ss/kl (AFP, AP, dpa)

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