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Russian Track and Field Team Banned from Olympics After Appeal Loses

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 21 (UPI) — Russia will not send its track and field team to the 2016 Summer Olympics after losing an appeal Thursday in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Earlier in the day the CAS rejected an appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee, one of the subjects of an anti-doping report in which it was asserted that wide-scale illegal preparation of athletes in Russia was far-reaching and systemic.

The CAS also turned down an appeal against the International Association of Athletics Federations by 68 “claimant athletes,” Russian track and field competitors who sought individual rulings on their cases. Sixty-seven of those athletes also were rejected in an attempt to compete in the Rio de Janeiro events as “neutral athletes.”

The widespread ban on a country’s athletes to compete in the Olympics is unprecedented.

A statement from the Kremlin was critical of the ban covering all Russian track and field athletes.

“We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies.”

The decisions indicate Russia has exhausted its opportunities to overrule the decision to ban the team from the Olympics. Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the All-Russia Atheltics Federation, told Russian news agency TASS, “I think there are no chances.”

Russian Olympic pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, though, held out one more hope: a decision by the International Olympic Committee to admit the track and field team.

She told TASS the “IOC is entitled to make their own decision… [it] looks like rejection, but IOC can decide something on separate athletes. I should say it once again: The final decision will be announced by IOC President Tomas Bach.”

Vitaly Mutko, Russian Minister for Sport, called the CAS decision “biased and somewhat politicized and has no legal grounds.”

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