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Winter Olympics Notebook: Military to cover for norovirus-hit security force

Winter Olympics Notebook: Military to cover for norovirus-hit security force

A total of 169 Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation, possibly more depending on a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, are set to take part at Pyeongchang, which will open on Friday.

The IOC has banned Russia from the 2018 Games over "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system, although individual Russian athletes can compete as neutrals - as "Olympic Athletes from Russia", under the Olympic flag and wearing uniforms without national insignia - if they meet stringent IOC criteria.

The IOC had said it wouldn't invite athletes previously banned for doping.The first competitions of the games, including a US-Russia curling match, had already started when CAS heard the cases at a luxury resort in the mountains near Pyeongchang."We are hopeful that the panel will follow our argumentation and respect the rights of the athletes", said Philippe Baertsch, a lawyer for the group of 45 Russians who are still awaiting their verdict. The Applicants also challenge the IOC decision refusing to invite them to participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

CAS is also handling appeals of Russians, including Olympic champion skater Viktor Ahn, who had not been named in the doping investigations or had any prior doping offences but were still not invited due to doping suspicions by the IOC.

That will be just nine hours before the opening ceremony.

Another WADA commissioned report released in 2017 found that Russia's elaborate state-sponsored doping program involving 1,000 athletes in 30 sports produced at least 27 ill-gotten Olympic medals and undermined the integrity of two Olympic Games and several other major worldwide sports competitions over a four-year period.

Russian speed-skating coach Pavel Abratkevich, who has been working with Sochi silver medalist Olga Fatkulina - banned from the upcoming Olympics - said that he never expected the International Olympic Committee would send an invitation.

Justifying the decision to snub Russian athletes cleared by CAS, the International Olympic Committee said it had considered "additional elements and/or evidence" which was not available to the Oswald Commission, but was presented to the International Olympic Committee panel by WADA.

The IOC ruled in December that Russians who served doping bans in the past weren't eligible for Pyeongchang under its vetting procedure.

"For years, worldwide sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians". "If we need more time, perhaps it will be Friday morning", he added.

They join 32 Russians who appealed a day earlier. The date when the decision will be announced is not yet known, it reported.

Coates gave few details and did not give names of the Russians who appealed Wednesday. He says Tokyo now has 47 local sponsors, and this excludes long-term International Olympic Committee sponsors like Bridgestone, Panasonic and Toyota.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics open in two days, but the issue of which Russians are in - and which are out - is dominating the agenda of IOC President Thomas Bach.

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