• It’s sad —Bolt
THE Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled that the ban placed on Russian track and field athletes by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from competing in the 2016 Olympics remains in force.
This followed claims that Russia ran a state-sponsored doping programme.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the body that governs world athletics.
“It’s sad but rules are rules,” said Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, who is targeting more gold medals in Rio 2016 scheduled to begin on August 5.
The Jamaican mega-star said it was important to send a strong message to the dopers.
“Doping violations in track and field is getting really bad. If you cheat or go or against the rules, this will scare a lot of people,” Bolt said.
However, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva – one of the 68 to appeal to CAS – said the ruling was “a blatant political order”, while the Russian Foreign Ministry called it a “crime against sport”.
Isinbayeva, the 2012 gold medallist, 34, told the Tass news agency: “Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.”
Meanwhile, some Russian athletes could compete in Rio as neutrals if they meet a number of criteria, including being repeatedly tested outside their homeland.
At least two – 800m runner and doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova and US-based long jumper Darya Klishina – have gone down that path.
Now the ruling by a three-person Cas panel has cleared the way for others.