Twenty eight Russian athletes could still take part in this month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport lifted life bans imposed on them for alleged doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
The top sport court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the 28 athletes out of the 43 had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping at the last Winter Games, hosted by Russia in Sochi.
CAS said in its judgement: “In 28 cases, the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned.”
It added: “The evidence put forward by the IOC in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case.”
The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia as a team from competing at Pyeongchang over the doping scandal, although 169 Russian athletes have been cleared to take part as neutrals.
The Olympic body reacted to the CAS verdict by warning in a statement that not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation to the games.