A global sporting tribunal said on Thursday that a ban on two Russian rowers and a swimmer with histories of doping was unenforceable, a ruling that opens the door wider to Russian participation at the Rio Olympic Games.
The decision, on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, could prompt a dozen more appeals against the ban from Russian competitors, Reuters quoted the tribunal’s chief as saying.
“We can do an appeal in 24 hours, so anything is possible,” Matthieu Reeb, secretary-general of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), said when asked if there was enough time for other athletes to have their ban overturned.
“It’s a first step,” he said, referring to the Thursday’s rulings. “There’s now potentially a way to get through.”
In response to evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia, the IOC last month directed sports federations to allow Russian athletes to compete only if they met certain criteria, including a clean doping past.
Dozens of athletes were later excluded.
One of the athletes who could take advantage of the new ruling is whistleblower Yulia Stepanova who, together with her husband, ignited the Russian doping scandal by revealing the extent of the state-backed doping program, Reuters said.
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