Russian athletes launch appeals against Rio ban

The appeal does not have the blessing of the Russian track and field federation, which says it has yet to receive the full text of the IAAF’s decision.

The IAAF, on Friday upheld a suspension of the Russian team imposed after a World Anti-Doping Agency report detailed widespread.   -  AP

Two Russian athletes said on Sunday that they have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the IAAF’s ban on the Russian team competing in Olympic track and field. The IAAF, track and field’s world governing body, on Friday upheld a suspension of the Russian team imposed in November after a World Anti-Doping Agency report detailed widespread, state-sponsored doping.

Race walkers Denis Nizhegorodov and Svetlana Vasilyeva argue that a ban of the entire team is unfair punishment. Nizhegorodov, an Olympic silver medalist in 2004, said, “competing at the Olympics is the main goal and main honor. We will get that right,” in comments on agent Andrei Mitkov’s website. “Now they want to take away my chance to compete at the Olympics, even though I haven’t done anything to cost me a place in Rio,” Vasilyeva said. “From bitter experience I understand that you can’t wait and hope for a good result, you have to act.”

Both athletes say they reject an IAAF measure that would allow some Russian athletes to compete under a neutral status, rather than the Russian flag, if they can show they are clean and have been tested regularly by a reputable testing authority outside Russia. “I’m a citizen of Russia, a great sports power. I don’t agree with competing under the Olympic flag,” he said. The appeal does not have the blessing of the Russian track and field federation, which says it has yet to receive the full text of the IAAF’s decision.

“No one at the federation has any connection to this,” spokeswoman Alla Glushchenko told The Associated Press in a text message. “We’ve started work with lawyers. In any case, you have to receive the official IAAF ruling and we don’t have it yet.”