WADA to take Russia case to CAS this week

CAS will decide whether to confirm the four-year ban WADA imposed on Russia last month, or listen to Russia's case against the sanction.

WADA decided on December 9 last year to ban Russia for four years from participating in international events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.   -  AP

The World Anti-Doping Agency will take its case for the exclusion of Russia from international sporting competitions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) “by the weekend”, a WADA official told AFP on Wednesday.

CAS, the world's highest sporting court, will decide whether to confirm the four-year ban WADA imposed on Russia last month, or listen to Russia's case against the sanction.

WADA decided on December 9 to ban Russia for four years from participating in international events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 football World Cup, over what it considers a state-sponsored programme of doping.

WADA says Russia “manipulated” data from an anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, the latest episode in a scandal which started with the revelation in 2015 of long-term institutional doping that involved senior officials, secret agents and trafficked urine vials.

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Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics this summer but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of the doping network.

This was also the case at the Pyeongchang winter Games in 2018.

Russia's athletics body has come under increasing pressure from high-profile athletes for its handling of the scandal.

On Tuesday three-time high-jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene, alongside three other Russian athletes, urged her fellow competitors to challenge their country's athletics body over its handling of the doping ban.

Lasitskene has been a vocal critic of the Russian sporting authorities, and has already warned she would quit Russia and train elsewhere so as not to miss the Tokyo Olympics after being excluded from the 2016 Rio Games over the scandal.

On Wednesday the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) discussed the Russia situation during a meeting in Lausanne.

“Obviously we are waiting for a decision (from CAS) before we start to look at those details,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told AFP.

The IOC also discussed accusations made by German broadcaster ARD of corruption and doping cover-ups at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

“There are a lot of unanswered questions at the moment and we want those questions to be dealt by the various authorities, including WADA,” Adams added.

Earlier this week the IOC said the accusations were “very serious and worrying”.