Russian Stepanova will not appeal over Rio ban

 06 Aug 2016 - 0:00

Russian Stepanova will not appeal over Rio ban
Yulia Stepanova during 800m qualifiaction in Amsterdam. Reuters / Michael Kooren

 

Whistleblower Stepanova will not appeal to CAS

 

Had been hoping to race under IOC flag  

 

By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO: Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over her ban on running as an independent athlete at the Rio Olympics, she said on Friday.

Stepanova, who helped expose state-backed doping in Russian sport and has fled the country, had been ruled out when the IOC banned from Rio any Russian who had served a doping ban.

However, CAS outlawed that decision on Thursday, potentially reopening a way in for her to compete.

“We are disappointed that the IOC turned a blind eye to the risks Yuliya had to take, and the damage to her athletic career, to expose the systematic cheating in Russia and live up to the ideals expressed in the World Anti-Doping Code,” Stepanova and her husband Vitaly, a former Russian anti-doping official, said in a statement.

“For her to be called ‘not ethical enough for the Games’ in the media release of the IOC on July 24 is a tremendous blow.”

The Stepanovas said they believed the IOC’s focus on Yuliya’s past doping sanction shifted the spotlight away from the real issue, which is that the IOC took no action against Russia for punishing her for being a credible whistleblower by refusing to put her on Russia’s Olympic team.

“At no point did the IOC, unlike the IAAF, demand publicly from the Russian sports authorities that they recognise our whistle-blowing as an important and valuable contribution for clean sport in Russia,” they added.

“Our disappointment and sadness is huge. We asked the IOC humbly that Yuliya, as she would never be nominated by the Russian Olympic Committee, be permitted to compete as a neutral athlete at the Games in Rio.”

The Stepanovas said they understood that the IOC had discretion to invite anyone it chose to the Games.

“We believe that in exercising this discretion to deny Yuliya a place in the competition, it sends a message that the World Anti-Doping Code and the values of Olympism are merely words on a page,” they said.

“As a result, we will not file an appeal to CAS.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Reuters