The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected a request to invite 15 Russian athletes to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics despite the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) overturning their doping bans.
Following an appeal by 42 athletes, CAS cleared 28 citing insufficient evidence against them and also lifted the life ban on 11 others, but barred them from taking part in the 2018 Olympics.
It said the review panel took into account extra information about the athletes sent to it by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which had "raised suspicion about the integrity of these athletes".
'We can not find ourselves in a situation where the CAS would lose its credibility among the athletes, ' stressed the Montreal-1976 Olympic fencer.
Several athletes wore their neutral jackets open to show a Russian-flag shirt underneath. The AP reported Putin told the country's athletes during a gathering at his residence to "forget about doping scandals when they compete" at the PyeongChang Games. It also said the decision may have a serious effect on the future fight against doping.
The 28 include gold medal-winning skeleton slider Alexander Tretiakov and cross-country ski gold medalist Alexander Legkov, as well as silver medalist speedskater Olga Fatkulina.
"Before taking any stand, we will first seek clarification from the International Olympic Committee as to the kind of reforms mentioned by its President today, beyond the disappointment he expressed in relation to the sentences of the CAS concerning Russian athletes", he said.
ROC was suspended temporarily until the end of the PyeongChang Games and its team banned from the Games.
"The additional information included data from the LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) database, traces of prohibited substances, evidence of steroid profile manipulation and further confidential information provided to the Panel by WADA", the International Olympic Committee said.
With regard to the participation of athletes from Russian Federation at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the decision of the IOC Executive Board (EB) of 5 December 2017 remains in place. They haven't yet published their full reasoning, but the reprieve for two-thirds of the athletes in this ruling indicates how tough it will be to put back together all the pieces that Russian cover-up artists went to such extreme lengths to hide.
There has been a positive development for Russia's athletes in the doping saga.
The IOC says it may appeal the CAS verdict to its ultimate authority, the Swiss Federal Tribunal, but that could take months.
AIBA responded by claiming: "This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time".
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