Belarus are now free to return to international competition ©Getty Images

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has admitted its "disappointment" after the one year ban it imposed on the Belarus men's team was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The world governing body acted last July after various doping claims were made against the country, but CAS yesterday ruled that there was "insufficient evidence" surrounding many of the allegations.

Compensation will now be sought by the Belarus National Olympic Committee (NOC RB) after the ban ruled their male athletes out of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.  

Belarus will now be eligible to return to international competition, the ICF confirmed.

Yesterday's verdict was the latest incident in a saga which began when Belarus' training camp in Le Temple-sur-Lot in France was raided by police in April.

Various substances, medication and materials were confiscated and 17 members of the squad were drug-tested.

Five athletes failed for banned heart attack drug meldonium and a French criminal investigation against Belarus still ongoing.

"The International Canoe Federation will continue to maintain a zero-tolerance approach to doping violations and will pursue necessary avenues to maintain the sport's integrity," an ICF statement said.

"Whilst the ICF Executive respects the processes taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport the ruling to overturn the imposed one-year suspension of the Belorussian men’s team comes as a disappointment.

"The ICF Executive remains committed to protecting the best interests of canoeing and its athletes and will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure fair and clean competition.

"The ICF Executive's decision to ban the team was based on evidence gained after the French Police confiscated various substances and medical materials following a raid at the Belorussian team's training camp in Le Temple-sur-Lot, France last April.

"The French criminal case against the Belorussian team is ongoing and the ICF will now wait for their ruling before deciding on its next course of action."

The men's team from Belarus were barred from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
The men's team from Belarus were barred from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

NOC RB secretary general Anatoly Kotov confirmed the country would seek damages after only female canoeists from the country competed at Rio 2016.

A figure of $80,000 (£63,000/€75,000) has been suggested for litigation costs by BelITA.

"The ban on the canoe and kayak teams, including coaches, medical staff and entourage has been overturned," Kotov told the Belarus 1 TV Channel. 

"We will file a claim with the court in Switzerland for compensation for moral damages that our team suffered as a result of the suspension from the Olympic Games and ungrounded disqualification from training and international competitions for almost half a year."

Belorussian Sports Minister Alexander Shamko has also spoken about the CAS verdict, telling BelTA it "was expected". 

"We didn't doubt it," Shamko said.

"We have repeatedly argued for it, including on the eve of the Olympic Games. 

"Let me remind you that our team inability's to participate in the Games certainly lost us some medals."

In their ruling, CAS said there was "no justification" for the one-year ban, which came into force on July 13.

An attempt by Belarus for a temporary stay of execution on the suspension was rejected by the CAS on July 18.

This was due to the appeal not addressing "criteria in CAS rules" and led to the Olympic absence of the male athletes.