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Sports

Fifteen Russians banned from Winter Olympics

media Olympic rings at Pyeongchang, South Korea Reuters

Fifteen Russians whose life bans for doping were lifted last week have been barred from the Pyeongchang Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Monday, as Russia's drugs conspiracy continued to reverberate just days from the opening ceremony.

A special IOC panel "unanimously recommended” that no invitations were to be extended to “15 individuals", a statement said.

The 15 were among a group of 28 Russians who had been banned for life from the Olympics for doping.

However, last Thursday, their suspensions were overturned at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

They included 13 athletes and two ex-athletes now working as support staff. The other members of the 28 have either retired or are unavailable for undisclosed reasons.

The IOC has barred Russia from the Pyeongchang Olympics, which open on Friday, over a widespread doping conspiracy. But 169 Russians who have passed strict anti-doping protocols will compete under a neutral flag.

The announcement comes after the body's president, Thomas Bach, slammed the CAS decision and called for reforms to the independent sports tribunal.

Bach kept up his attack on Monday, when he told reporters: "This CAS decision is extremely disappointing and needs a very careful review. We will clearly review it. If we can appeal it we will appeal it."

The World Anti-Doping Agency has also expressed "serious concern" over the decision by CAS, which said it had insufficient evidence to leave the bans in place.

And Canadian luge athlete Sam Edney, who was robbed of a 2014 Olympic medal when the bans were overturned, called the uncertainty "a nightmare for clean athletes".

(With AFP)

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