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Lawmaker slams CAS decision on Russian athletes

Lawmaker slams CAS decision on Russian athletes

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

"We regret this. We are taking this decision into consideration. and undoubtedly we will continue to help athletes to stand up for their rights", Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Among those excluded are six-time gold medalist Viktor Ahn, the short track speedskater whose return to his native South Korea for the Olympics had been eagerly anticipated by local fans.

Dozens of Russians implicated in doping lost a last-minute court bid to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday, prompting relief among rivals but fury in Moscow.

In December, the International Olympic Committee banned 43 Russian athletes for life from the Olympics, but CAS overturned the suspensions of 28 athletes and partially upheld 11 other appeals - decisions International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach described as "extremely disappointing and surprising" last Sunday.

In Russia, the lower house of Russian parliament - the State Duma - issued a statement deploring the CAS verdict as a reflection of "crude pressure and political struggle in a sports field defying Olympic principles".

The Russians wore grey jackets with white scarves at the opening ceremony, and were carrying the Olympic flag.

Russia's team is banned after the emergence of systemic drug cheating.

The IOC in December determined that Russian athletes who proved they were clean would be allowed to compete as neutrals in the Games.

These Russian "OAR" athletes face several restrictions, however.

Russia's participation has been fiercely debated among athletes and Canada's team was forced to apologise on Thursday after an alleged altercation at the athletes' village.

The IOC is considering an appeal against that decision.

So what's up with all those "OAR" athletes you'll see during this year's Winter Olympics?

The IOC earlier suspended these athletes from the Olympics for life and stripped them of their titles earned at the 2014 Sochi Games on the basis of the Oswald commission's report.

Investigations revealed an elaborate ploy where tainted Russian urine samples were switched with clean ones overnight using a "mousehole" in the wall of the Sochi anti-doping laboratory.

"The timing of these decisions just before the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang is good as it will reassure athletes and others that only Russian athletes which have met strict anti-doping criteria will be participating in the Games".

Russian Federation has denied any government links to the conspiracy. But the International Olympic Committee has banned the former sports minister Mutko for life. If you're not a clean athlete then you should not compete.

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". "That's what I hope".

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