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Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS to rule on Russian athletes' Olympic ban

The athletes are opposing the IAAF's ban of all Russian track and field athletes following a report showing widespread, state-sponsored doping that rocked the world of sport.

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CAS to rule on Russian athletes' Olympic ban play

CAS to rule on Russian athletes' Olympic ban

(Reuters)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will step in to settle finally the dispute between Russia, its athletes and the governing body of world athletics over their participation in the Rio Olympic Games, CAS said on Monday.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and 68 Russian athletes have agreed an expedited procedure which should conclude on July 21 "with the issuance of the final decision", CAS said in a statement.

The athletes are opposing the IAAF's ban of all Russian track and field athletes following a report showing widespread, state-sponsored doping that rocked the world of sport.

The athletes say they are being punished despite not failing drugs tests and that they should be eligible to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The Games start on Aug. 5 with the IAAF having said only a handful of Russian athletes, who meet a number of criteria including being repeatedly tested outside Russia, would be allowed to compete there.

The ban was first put in place last November and confirmed last month, when the IAAF said that there were still considerable problems with anti-doping in Russia. The IOC said it was the IAAF's right to make the decision and would not over-rule it.

However, many Russia-based athletes are furious that they are being punished for what they consider to be the sins of others.

Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva described the ban as a breach of human rights and threatened legal action.

Russian hammer throw champion Sergej Litvinov received widespread sympathy after he published a moving, open letter to IAAF president Sebastian Coe accepting that Russia had a problem but pleading the case for clean individuals.

"I am angry because I have dedicated a majority of my life to the hammer throw and I have done it clean. Despite immense pressure to break the rules I decided to sacrifice results and now am punished for it," Litvinov wrote last month.

"Making the decision to compete clean was not easy. I find myself in the difficult situation of needing to prove a negative. As an athlete I do not know what is required and the process to show I am clean. This sport is my life and I will fight to compete again. Just please show me a clear way."

Should CAS rule in favour of the athletes there would then be a further issue to resolve as the IOC's current deadline for athletes to achieve the qualification criteria - July 11 - would have passed.

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