Sports / Olympic News Updates

Russians appeal swimming ban

By Agence France-Presse in Rio de Janeiro (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-01 07:50

Medalists leading fight to be allowed to compete in Rio

Russians appeal swimming ban

Russian swimmers Nikita Lobintsev, left, and Vladimir Morozov hold up their silver medals at the Swimming World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in this Aug 2, 2015, file photo. [Photo/IC]

Russian swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev on Saturday launched the first challenge against International Olympic Committee sanctions excluding them from the Rio Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hold an emergency session in Rio to hear their case, just days before the start of the Games.

The move by the two Olympic medal winners was announced as the International Olympic Committee held two days of talks on fallout from the Russia doping crisis.

Morozov, 24, and Lobintsev, 27, have called on CAS to declare "invalid and unenforceable" an IOC order for federations to exclude athletes implicated in an investigation of Russia's state-run doping system.

They were among seven Russians banned by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) last week after the order.

A report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Russia's doping had been organized by the sports ministry and aided by the Russian secret service at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Rejecting calls for a blanket ban on Russia, the IOC decided on July 24 that individual sports federations should investigate athletes implicated in the report and decide who should be excluded.

So far, at least 117 individuals from the 387 the Russian Olympic Committee sought to enter the Games have been excluded.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Saturday he expected 266 athletes to compete.

The federations from boxing, golf, gymnastics and tae-kwondo have yet to report their decisions.

A three-member IOC panel made up of Ugur Erdener, president of World Archery and head of the IOC medical and scientific commission, Claudia Bockel of the IOC athletes commission and Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch, will make the final decision on the Russian team, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

Morozov, a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay team that took bronze at the 2012 London Games, and Lobintsev, who took silver in the 4x200m freestyle team in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in the 4x100m freestyle in London, have taken their action against the IOC and FINA.

"Both swimmers request CAS to declare the decision of the IOC executive board of July 24 2016 invalid and unenforceable," said a CAS statement.

"The swimmers also request that the decision of the FINA bureau of July 25, declaring both of them ineligible for the Olympic Games in Rio, be set aside."

Morozov said in a letter to FINA president Julio Maglione this week that he had never failed a drug test administered by Russian or international experts.

"Throughout the last six years I've been tested by doping control agencies at my home and at the pool, sometimes every other day," he said in the letter published on his Facebook page.

"I am sure that in a justice-driven system I have the full right to take part in the Olympic Games."

WADA president Craig Reedie, who called for a complete ban on Russian athletes in Rio, was slated to address the CAS panel ruling on the appeal.

The CAS has already rejected an appeal made by 67 Russian athletes against a ban ordered by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) before the IOC sanctions.

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