December 18, 2018

A second appeal by 15 Russian athletes and coaches has been registered

11 February 2018, 05:00 | Anna Jefferson

28 Russian Olympians have lifetime ban overturned

Associated Press on Dec. 5 2017 International Olympic Committee Medical and Scientific Director Richard Budgett speaks during a press conference in Lausanne Switzerland

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) secretary general, Matthieu Reeb, says Russian athletes banned from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics will be allowed to participate if the court's Ad Hoc Division upholds their appeals. "I'll just say that we came here to defend our good name and we were fully listened to by the CAS panel", said luge coach Albert Demchenko, who was at the hearing.

A decision on whether 47 Russian athletes and coaches can take part in the Winter Olympics may not be made until Friday - the day the Games start.

CAS is also handling appeals of Russians, including Olympic champion skater Viktor Ahn, who had not been named in the doping investigations or had any prior doping offences but were still not invited due to doping suspicions by the IOC.

"The panel's decisions are expected to be announced either late in the evening of February 8, 2018 or in the morning of February 9, 2018", CAS said in a statement.

CAS added that as well as short-track speedskating great Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin. Neither athlete has previously served a doping ban.

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

On Wednesday afternoon, the CAS will also be hearing the appeal of 32 other Russian athletes who were not invited by the IOC.

However, the IOC-appointed Invitation Review Panel responsible for approving Russian applications denied the request, as it had considered "additional elements" which were not available to the Oswald Commission probe into alleged Russian doping, but was presented to the International Olympic Committee panel by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Russian speed-skating coach Pavel Abratkevich, who has been working with Sochi silver medalist Olga Fatkulina - banned from the upcoming Olympics - said that he never expected the International Olympic Committee would send an invitation.

Non-transparent invitation criteria, inobservance of the CAS verdict, and damage inflicted to the athletes' reputation, dignity and professional career were the grounds of the Russian appeal compiled by the Swiss law company Schellenberg Wittmer, which acts in the interests of the national team.

The IOC in December suspended Russian Federation from the Winter Olympics following allegations of state-sponsored doping, though a contingent of competitors has been granted permission to compete under a neutral flag.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics open in two days, but the issue of which Russians are in - and which are out - is dominating the agenda of IOC President Thomas Bach.

Amid a chaotic buildup to the Games, Bach insisted that the International Olympic Committee had done all it could to manage the situation as effectively as possible.

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