An international sports court has rejected the last-minute appeals of all 45 Russian athletes and two coaches who applied for permission to compete in the Winter Olympics, which kick off later on Friday.
A total of 168 Russian athletes have been approved to compete in South Korea since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) imposed a blanket ban on the national team over doping claims in December.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced on Friday that it had dismissed all of the last-minute Russians’ applications in the three days since they had been filed. They include six-time gold medalist speed skater Viktor Ahn and cross-country skiing world champion Sergei Ustyugov.
The CAS panel ruled that the IOC decision to bar the Russian athletes was not ‘carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner.‘
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), whose investigation concluded that Russia ran a state-run doping scheme, leading to the Olympic team’s ban, said it welcomed the sport court’s decision.
The head of Russia’s Skating Union, Irina Slautina, has announced that a separate competition would be organized for Ahn and other disqualified Russian athletes.
The ’alternative" games are scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18, she told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency after the CAS ruling was handed down.