WADA welcomes CAS verdict on Russian athletes

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Moscow, Feb 9 (IANS) The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Friday welcomed the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to dismiss the application filed by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against the IOC’s decision not to invite them to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.

The CAS decision came hours before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony in South Korea’s Pyeongchang, according to TASS news agency.

“These decisions come as welcome news for WADA; as they will, for athletes and all others worldwide that care for clean sport and the integrity of the Games,” WADA President Sir Craig Reedie was quoted as saying.

“The timing of these decisions just before the opening ceremony in PyeongChang is good as it will reassure athletes and others that only Russian athletes who have met strict anti-doping criteria will be participating in the Games,” he added.

On Wednesday, CAS started considering appeals by 32 Russian athletes not invited to the Games.

Besides, the panel also considered appeals filed by 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, who had been slapped with life-time Olympic bans by the IOC. They were later cleared by the CAS, but were still denied permission by IOC to participate.

The Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, began in South Korea’s PyeongChang on Friday and will run till February 25.

Doping-free athletes from Russia will participate in the Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’. Currently, Russia’s delegation to the Games includes 168 athletes.

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