CAS overturns doping bans on 28 Russian athletes

ZURICH: Twenty-eight Russian athletes have had their Olympic doping bans overturned and their results from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi reinstated after their appeals were upheld by sport's highest tribunal on Thursday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said in a statement that it had found insufficient evidence that the 28 athletes, banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), were guilty of anti-doping violations in Sochi.

"With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated," said the Lausanne-based tribunal.

Eleven other athletes were confirmed by CAS to have committed doping violations. However, the CAS reduced their lifetime Olympic bans to a ban from this month's Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

The IOC has banned Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month as a result of its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.

However, individual Russian athletes will be able to compete as neutrals if they can prove their anti-doping credentials.

Russia has repeatedly denied any state involvement in the doping which was exposed by an independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

CAS said its mandate was "not to determine generally whether there was an organized scheme allowing the manipulation of doping control samples....but was strictly limited to dealing with 39 individual cases and to assess the evidence applicable to each athlete on an individual basis."