Yelena Isinbayeva to lodge appeal at the CAS
IOC backs IAAF's Russian suspension
But individual Russian athletes could still go to Rio
Yelena Isinbayeva, long considered the world’s greatest female pole vaulter, insists she will fight for a place in the Olympics at Rio in August, despite the doping ban on Russia’s track and field team.
“I never give up,” Isinbayeva, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the current female world record holder, told CNN. “I will appeal in the Court of Arbitration of Sport, and if they are satisfied with my appeal then I will have the right to compete in Rio under the Russian flag. Of course it gives me hope.”
TheCourt of Arbitration of Sport – sport’s final court of appeal – is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
On Friday, athletics’ governing body the IAAF upheld its previous ban on Russian track and field athletes competing on the global stage.
IOC leaves door open
However, IOC president Thomas Bach gave some hope to Russia’s athletes, saying he expected some individual Russians to take part if cleared by the IAAF and that “they will compete under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee.”
But the IOC deemed competing under the Russian flag was appropriate as only the Russian Athletics Federation had been banned and not the Russian Olympic Committee.
Any Russian athletes hoping to compete in Rio would have to undergo further doping checks.
Isinbayeva, who also has three world championships to her credit, has been an outspoken critic of Russia’s doping ban.
“Track and field is about individuals. We are not a team sport. Every athlete is responsible for themselves, for their behavior, for their deeds. So why should I be responsible for the mistakes of others?” she asked.
“How can you consider everyone is dirty?” she continued. “From my side, this is a big mistake.”
Isinbayeva’s situation contrasts with that of whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova, whose evidence effectively led to the revelations of systematic doping within Russian track and field.
Stepanova has been relocated to Canada but the 29-year-old middle-distance runner hopes to qualify for and compete in Rio under the IOC flag.
Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said the country’s clean athletes would appeal against the suspension and told the IOC summit they would take the matter to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, calling such a ban “legally indefensible.”
“But beyond all doubt, we intend to defend the interests of our sportsmen – I mean, those sportsmen who are not associated in any way with doping use.”