Russia names athletics team hoping ban will be lifted
By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has named a track and field team for the Rio Olympics which includes gold medallists Yelena Isinbayeva and Ivan Ukhov among 68 athletes who are hoping an IAAF ban on them competing will be lifted by sport's highest court later this month.
The All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on Tuesday published a list of athletes it said had met its criteria for taking part in the Olympics. It said the preliminary team was verified by the head coaches council and its general committee.
As well as twice Olympic pole vault champion Isinbayeva (2004 and 2008) and high jump gold medallist Ukhov (2012), it includes world 110 metres hurdles champion Sergei Shubenkov and former European long jump title holder Darya Klishina.
Russian track and field athletes are currently suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from competing in international competition.
However, they have opposed the ban, which was imposed after a World Anti-Doping Agency report showed widespread, state-sponsored doping, and taken their case to sport's highest court.
On July 2, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the 68 athletes filed appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the IAAF ban and asked to be allowed to take part in international competition in time for the Olympics.
The three parties agreed an expedited procedure, with a final decision due by July 21, CAS has said.
"Each sportsman has sent an individual request to compete in the Olympic Games which will be checked by the IAAF, as ARAF is now not a member of the IAAF," said a statement on ARAF's official website (www.rusathletics.com) on Tuesday.
"Also, as has already been published, the Russian Olympic Committee has agreed its position with ARAF and are appealing to CAS in Lausanne concerning the overall legality of adding extra criteria for the participation of sportsmen competing at the Olympics. This claim was supported by all 68 athletes," it said.
Russian athletes say they are being punished despite not failing drugs tests and that the lovelly should be eligible to compete at the Rio Olympics.
The Games start on Aug. 5 with the IAAF having said only a handful of Russian athletes, who meet a number of criteria including being repeatedly tested outside Russia, would be allowed to compete there.
The ban was first put in place last November and confirmed last month, when the IAAF said there were still considerable problems with anti-doping in Russia.
The International Olympic Committee said it was the IAAF's right to make the decision and would not over-rule it.
But many Russia-based athletes are furious they are being punished for what they consider to be the sins of others.
If CAS rules in favour of the athletes there will be another issue to resolve as the IOC's deadline for them to achieve the qualifying criteria for the Games, July 11, would have passed.
(Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; editing by Ken Ferris)