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    IOC Discusses Anti-Doping Issues, Russian Athletes' Participation in 2018 Games

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    PYEONGCHANG (Sputnik) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board has held a session, during which it discussed the pressing issues related to anti-doping, including the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn life bans given to over two dozen Russian athletes, a spokesperson for the IOC told Sputnik.

    According to the spokesperson, the entire anti-doping agenda was heard, including issues related to Russia.

    The Executive Board (EB) is set to continue its sessions later on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's agenda of the EB meeting includes reports on national Olympic committees, summer and winter international federations, as well as the anti-doping report including on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Independent Testing Authority (ITA) and the commission for the admission of Russian athletes to participate in the Olympic Games.

    On Russian athletes' participation

    The IOC will consider extending the invitation to 15 Russian athletes, recently acquitted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over doping charges, to participate in the Olympics.

    "Twenty eight cases were upheld by the appeal. Of those 28, 13 active athletes and two are now coaches, so the key number is 15. Those 15 names will be given to the Invitation Review Panel, chaired by Valerie Fourneyron, former French sports minister, and she will review, or this group will review those in the light of this CAS decision," Adams told a press conference.

    Adams also noted that the initial IOC statement on CAS decision indicated that the committee would consider the possibility of challenging the court's ruling in the Swiss Federal Tribunal after reviewing the reasoned decisions in the case.

    It is difficult to comment further on the situation until the CAS reasoning is published, Adams added.

    Asked whether the IOC ban on Russian athletes was a success or a failure in light of the fact that quite a few leading Russian sportsmen would compete in the upcoming Olympics, Adams said that it was "hard to judge something before it has happened."

    "Seventy-five percent of those who will be competing here never competed in the Olympic Games before. So they never competed in Sochi. Twenty-five percent did compete in Sochi, but we have given those invitations on the basis of a very strict process to try to find athletes who are ‘clean,’ whom we wish to invite. Will it be a success? I think that time will judge," Adams pointed out.

    Adams emphasized that the IOC had not imposed a blanket ban on all the Russian athletes, instead of allowing individual athletes fulfill their "Olympic dream."

    "I think the fact that we have given individual 'clean' athletes the right to compete is something that anyone who believes in democracy, and liberty and freedom would agree with," Adams noted.

    READ MORE: CAS Decision on Russian Athletes 'Raised Doubts in Testing by IOC' — Professor

    Adams further noted that around 75,000 tickets had been sold so far, adding that all the competition venues were ready, with 14,500 volunteers expected to be working at the Games.

    At the same time, the IOC has confirmed that the Swiss Civil Courts rejected appeals by six Russian athletes over the IOC decision not to invite them to compete in the upcoming Olympics. 

    The group of athletes, who have filed appeals with the Swiss Civil Courts after the IOC had not extended its invitation to participate in the games to them, includes leading speed skaters Pavel Kulizhnikov and Denis Yuskov, biathletes Irina Starykh and Alexander Loginov, short-track speed skater Tatyana Borodulina and ski jumper Dmitri Vasiliev, the outlet added.

    The statement comes two days after the CAS revealed that it had ruled to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes against the IOC Disciplinary Commission's decisions on their disqualification and ban from the Olympics for life over violation of anti-doping rules, and partially upheld the remaining 11 appeals.

    The IOC, however, said it regretted the CAS decision, and expressed plans to carefully consider the CAS reasoned decisions once they were available for a possible appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

    The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will take place in Pyeongchang on February 9-25.


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    2018 Winter Olympics, CAS, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Russia
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