Russia has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn its doping ban from track and field competition. The country’s track team was banned by the IAAF in November 2015 after a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation found widespread drug use by elite Russian athletes.
The new legal challenge at CAS follows WADA’s decision last week to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency after compromising on two key criteria _ an admission of wrongdoing by the Russian government and access to evidence stored at the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.
The Russian track federation said its appeal asks for the same two criteria to be dropped from the list of demands the IAAF has made. “In our view it is unjustified (to demand) compliance with these criteria and their inclusion in the road map for reinstating RusAF is illegitimate because they are outside RusAF’s purview,” Russian track federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said in a statement.
The IAAF told The Associated Press that it received a letter from Shlyakhtin asking for the Russian team to be reinstated “as soon as possible,” and saying last week’s WADA decision should set a precedent.
“The IAAF has, from the very beginning, been clear on its reinstatement requirements and processes overseen by an independent taskforce. We stand behind the decisions we have made and are very confident of our legal position,” the IAAF said in a statement.”
“We will put the required resources behind robustly defending any challenge to the suspension of RusAF, whether at CAS or elsewhere. The only way for RusAF to achieve reinstatement is by satisfying the reinstatement conditions to the satisfaction of the IAAF Council.”
WADA allowed Russia to accept only an International Olympic Committee report which didn’t directly accuse the government of sponsoring doping, instead of a harsher report by WADA’s own investigator. WADA also reinstated the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in return for a promise to provide evidence from the Moscow lab at a later date.
Top Russian athletes have continued to compete despite the ban on the team. Since the 2016 Olympics, when only one Russian was allowed to compete, the IAAF has certified dozens more to compete as “Authorized Neutral Athletes” after examining their history of drug-testing. Such athletes won six medals at last year’s world championships, including gold for high jumper Maria Lasitskene.