CAS ruling opens the Sochi 2014 door for banned Russians
Sunday, 09 October 2011
October 9 - Russian biathletes Dmitry Yaroshenko (pictured) and Ekaterina Iourieva hope to be able to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) ruling that means LaShawn Merritt could compete at London 2012 despite having initially been barred from doing so by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC lost a case to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), who successfully argued that the 400 metres Olympic champion was being punished twice for a doping violation, for which he has already served a 21-month ban.
The IOC's Rule 45, also known as the "Osaka rule", had stipulated that athletes found guilty of anti-doping violations and banned for six months or more would not be able to compete in the subsequent Olympic Games, regardless of whether their ban had expired or not.
CAS said that the rule was "invalid and unenforceable", paving the way for Merritt and a host of other athletes to compete at next year's Olympic Games, as well as at Sochi 2014.
World champion Yaroshenko was thrilled at the ruling, saying: "I have been longing for this decision.
"I even lit a candle in church and asked the priest to pray for us.
"It's great that I can compete."
Both Yaroshenko and Iourieva, who is also a world title holder, tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO) at a World Cup event in 2008, and were barred from competition for two years.
Other athletes including cross-country skiers Julija Tchepalova and Yevgeny Dementyev tested positive for the same banned substance in 2009, and were also subsequently given two-year disqualifications.
They have since retired, and it is unclear whether they will be tempted back into the sport in the wake of the ruling, which would make them eligible to compete in Sochi.
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