Russia regrets dismissal of 47 athletes, coaches from Olympics

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Feb. 9 (UPI) — The Russian Olympic Committee expressed Friday its regret over the decision of the Court for Arbitration for Sport to dismiss the appeal by 47 Russian athletes and coaches who were denied participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“The absence of these pure athletes at the Olympic Games not only reduces the level of competition and spectators’ interest, but also undermines the basis of equality for all who have won dozens of medals, titles and awards throughout their careers in fair competition,” a ROC statement said.

Earlier on Friday, an ad hoc division of the CAS dismissed appeals by 32 Russian athletes not invited to the Games against the International Olympic Committee, as well as of another 13 Russian athletes and two coaches under lifetime Olympic bans by the IOC were later cleared by the CAS, but were still denied invitations to participate in the 2018 Games.

On Feb. 1, the CAS ruled to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes against the decisions of the IOC Disciplinary Commission to ban them for life from participating in the Olympic Games for doping violations.

But on Monday, the IOC invitation review panel decided not to invite 13 Russian athletes and two coaches cleared by CAS to the PyeongChang Winter Games.

In December, the IOC decided to suspend the ROC from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games over the doping scandal, but allowed clean Russian athletes to compete in uniforms bearing the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia” under the Olympic Flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played in any ceremony instead of the Russian anthem.

The scandal started by a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency, accusing Russian athletes of a wide use of doping, prevented a large number of Russian athletes and officials from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics.