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Isinbayeva warns of backlash from Russian athletes at Pyeongchang 2018

Isinbayeva warns of backlash from Russian athletes at Pyeongchang 2018

Eighty members of the delegation of Olympic athletes from Russian Federation will participate in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea's PyeongChang, the delegation's head Stanislav Pozdnyakov told reporters.

Matthieu Reeb, secretary general of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), announces the court's decision regarding dozens of Russian athletes banned for doping, in Pyeongchang on February 1, 2018., The Court of Arbitration for Sport on February 1 lifted life bans on 28 of the 43 Russians accused of doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Instead it invited 169 carefully screened Russian athletes to compete as neutrals under the Olympic flag.

Sport's highest court has rejected appeals by 45 Russian athletes and two coaches who were banned from the Pyeongchang Olympics - less than nine hours before the opening ceremony.

"I'm having a very unusual feeling..."

Jim Walden, the lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, renewed calls for IOC President Thomas Bach to resign "for the sake of the Olympic ideal".

He said that if the Russian athletes implicated in doping had been allowed to take part in the Games now "it would have caused shock".

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov criticized the CAS refusal to uphold the Russian appeal, describing the verdict as unfair and unreasonable.

On Friday morning, the Ad Hoc division of the CAS dismissed two appeals filed by the Russian athletes and coaches, stating that invitation to the Olympic Games lies exclusively within the competence of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) - the organizer of the event.

As well as the 168-strong Russian team, 60 more Russian athletes and staff have pending appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a last-ditch bid to take part in Pyeongchang.

Successful appeals would be a blow to the International Olympic Committee, which would have to accept athletes it deems suspicious.

The ruling obviously avoids what would have been the tumult if not chaos of integrating some number - up to 47 - more "Olympic Athletes from Russia" into the delegation here even as the Games were getting underway, a process that doubtlessly would have drawn, and appropriately, worldwide condemnation. "And begging for invitations all the time is beyond reasonable", he said.

"I am confident that today's decision is mostly a reaction to the outcry from clean athletes against Olympic corruption and complicity".

Sir Hugh Robertson, the chair of the British Olympic Association, also stated his support for the decision: "It's clearly disappointing that we are still talking about this on the eve of a Winter Olympics", he said.

"I am sure that they will perform for themselves and, as we say [in Russia], "for the guys".

But the Sports House, which was inaugurated on Friday for the fans of Russian Olympic athletes, makes up for the blandness of their neutral uniforms.

US bobsledder Nick Cunningham said he has tried to not focus on the will-they-or-won't-they drama surrounding the Russians. If you're not a clean athlete then you should not compete.

Longtime IOC member and World Anti-Doping Agency founding president Richard Pound - another troublemaking Canuck - was the first to raise the issue this week.

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