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Olympic doping Swiss court denies ‘late’ Russian bid to freeze track ban

Yelena Isinbayeva in happier times in June

(Keystone)

Two Russian track and field athletes have failed in a last-ditch bid to have their ban from the Olympics put on hold.

Two-time Olympic pole vault gold medallist Yelena Isinbayeva and world 110-metre hurdles champion Sergei Shubenkov had applied to the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne to delay application of an earlier ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) – also in Lausanne – which upheld the Russian team’s ban from the Olympic track meet. Had they won, it could have allowed them to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

However, the court ruled on Monday that the two Russians had waited too long after the CAS ruling to file their request and that they had failed to demonstrate that they met the criteria of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to compete in Rio.

“The last hope to perform at the Olympic Games has disappeared,” Isinbayeva wrote on social media.

Shubenkov, however, insisted he and Isinbayeva would fight on in court.

“It doesn’t in any way stop us from further actions,” Shubenkov, who is a lawyer by training, told Russia’s state Tass news agency. “We’ll keep going according to the plan we had. This is just the first step.”

The head of the Russian track federation told local media that it was unlikely any appeals would be in time for the country’s athletes to take part in Olympic track and field, which starts on Friday and runs through August 21.

Alleged cover-ups

Russia was banned from international track and field, including the Olympics, in November over widespread doping. That followed the publication of a World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report alleging a culture of performance-enhancing drug use and cover-ups in the Russian track team.

Isinbayeva said she still planned to travel to Rio on Sunday to seek election to the International Olympic Committee as an athletes’ representative.

If she fails to win, Russia would lose one of its three IOC spots, since current representative Alexander Popov’s term ends in Rio.

‘Medals over morals’

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has barred all Russian athletes from taking part in next month’s Rio Paralympics, with organisers blasting a “medals over morals mentality” as they announced the blanket ban over state-backed doping that IOC bosses avoided.

IPC President Philip Craven said Russia’s Paralympians were part of a broken system overseen by the Russian government. On Sunday he suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee ahead of the September 7-18 Games.

Russia immediately said it would appeal and condemned the move as violating the human rights of its athletes. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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