Location South Korea South Korea

IOC rejects 15 Russian athletes request to join Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected a request from 15 Russians, who have been cleared of doping, to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics.

The 13 athletes and two coaches were among 28 Russians that had previously been given a lifetime ban for doping by the IOC.
However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the ban last week, claiming there was insufficient evidence that they broke doping rules during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
In contrast to the CAS ruling, the IOC said Monday its external review panel examined the 15 individual’s applications and found suspicions of potential doping violations.
“Extremely disappointing and surprising,” said IOC President Thomas Bach during a press conference in PyeongChang. “The privilege to be invited requires more than just the absence of a sanction.”
The IOC plans to make a decision on whether to appeal the CAS decision, once it sees full details of the ruling.
Bach also said the decision showed an urgent need for reform of the court’s structure.
Last December, the IOC banned Russia from competing in the Olympics because of confirmed allegations of state sponsored doping during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
However, Russian athletes that proved they were clear of drugs were be allowed to compete under a neutral flag, and known as the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).
“The purpose of the review panel was to confirm that athletes can be considered clean for a potential invitation to the Olympic Winter Games,” said the IOC in a statement.
At least 168 Russian athletes are scheduled to compete as OAR according to the PyeongChang official website.
However, of the total Russian athletes a little over 70 are scheduled to take part in the Olympic’s opening ceremony according to the Russian Olympic Committee.
“Some of the athletes have competitions the day after the opening ceremony, while many have not yet arrived in PyeongChang. Our delegation at the opening ceremony will consist of 70 to 75 people,” the ROC said in a statement. “Among the participants in the ceremony will be players of the ice hockey team, snowboarders, lugers, alpine skiers, ski jumpers, freestylers, cross-country skiers, bobsled and skeleton racers, and speed skaters.”
The opening ceremony for the winter extravaganza of sports is slated for Friday at 8:00 p.m.

By Kim Hyun-bin

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