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Russia's Athletics Federation Challenges Suspension In Court

The president of the Russian athletics federation, Dmitry Shlyakhtin (right)
The president of the Russian athletics federation, Dmitry Shlyakhtin (right)

The Russian athletics federation says it has launched a legal challenge to overturn a three-year ban on its athletes, which followed a major doping scandal.

RUSAF said on September 26 that it had filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), days after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) conditionally ended its suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency despite opposition from dozens of athletes and the anti-doping establishment.

However, the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) ban is still in place.

Russia’s track team was banned from international competition in November 2015 after a WADA-commissioned report outlined evidence of an extensive, government-backed doping program in sports.

Moscow has repeatedly denied state involvement in doping.

Despite RUSAF’s suspension, some athletes from Russia have been allowed to compete as “neutrals” in international events after proving their anti-doping credentials.

The CAS did not immediately comment on the Russian appeal.

The IAAF confirmed to the AP news agency that it received a letter from RUSAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin asking for the Russian track team to be reinstated "as soon as possible."

The organization said in a statement that it will “robustly” defend any challenge to the suspension of RUSAF.

“The only way for RUSAF to achieve reinstatement is by satisfying the reinstatement conditions to the satisfaction of the IAAF Council," it added.

Reports quoted the letter to the IAAF as saying RUSAF has “no choice” but to file an appeal against the council's decision in July to extend its suspension.

RUSAF is "guided solely by the interests of fairness, justice, and equal treatment of clean athletes," the letter also read.

The IAAF task force established to investigate Russia's compliance is to report back to a council meeting in December.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and the BBC
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