Russia’s Tokyo Olympics ban upheld, suspension shortened

Dec 18 , 2020. 8 hours ago – 01:24 KYODO NEWS

Russian Olympic Committee building is seen in Moscow, Russia after The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) handed a four-year ban to Russia for major sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World Cup on December 09, 2019. (Anadolu Agency/Getty/Kyodo)

GENEVA – The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Thursday it upheld Russia’s ban from next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics, but shortened a four-year suspension to two years.

Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA had appealed the sanctions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency in December last year that barred Russia’s flag, anthem and team name from competitions including the Olympics for four years. While refusing to overturn the ban, the court reduced the suspension, which will now end on Dec. 16, 2022.

The suspension means no Russian team will be allowed to take part in either the Tokyo Olympics or Paralympics or the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2022. It also impacts Russia’s participation in other world championship competitions such as soccer’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In response, RUSDA announced it was not completely satisfied with the decision and could appeal the judgement to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

The decision follows a four-day arbitration hearing held last month centering on WADA’s accusation that Russia tampered with drug testing data retrieved from the Moscow laboratory in Jan. 2019.

WADA President Witold Banka welcomed the decision in a statement on the organization’s website.

“WADA is pleased to have won this landmark case…The Panel has clearly upheld our findings that the Russian authorities brazenly and illegally manipulated the Moscow Laboratory data in an effort to cover up an institutionalized doping scheme.”

“We are, however, disappointed that the CAS Panel did not endorse each and every one of our recommended consequences for the four-year period we requested. We believe they were proportionate and reasonable, but ultimately WADA is not the judge but the prosecutor and we must respect the decision of the Panel,” the statement said.

As at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Russian athletes cleared of doping will be allowed to compete as individuals. Russia is also deprived of the right to host major international tournaments during the ban.

RUSADA was initially suspended in 2015 for its role in the state-sponsored doping program that targeted the 2014 Winter Olympics, hosted by Russia in Sochi. The nation was allowed to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but was banned from taking part in the Paralympics.

Following the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee in 2017, Russian athletes cleared of doping were allowed to participate at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea as “Olympic Athlete from Russia.”