CAS Russia decision attacked by whistleblower’s lawyer

Vladimir Putin with Russian athletes at the Sochi Games in 2014
Updated 01 February 2018

CAS Russia decision attacked by whistleblower’s lawyer

LONDON: The lawyer for doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov has slammed the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) to lift life bans on 28 Russians claiming the ruling “emboldens cheaters.”
Sport’s highest court overturned the disqualifications of 28 Russians who competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It ruled there was “insufficient” evidence that the athletes had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping at the Games hosted by Russia.
CAS said in its judgment: “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.”
Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, was the source of revelations on Moscow’s state-sponsored doping. His American lawyer Jim Walden ridiculed CAS’s ruling.
Calling the verdict “unfortunate” he said it “provides a very small measure of punishment for some athletes but a complete ‘get out of jail free card’ for most.”
“The CAS decision only emboldens cheaters, makes it harder for clean athletes to win, and provides yet another ill-gotten gain for the corrupt Russian doping system generally, and (Vladimir) Putin specifically.”
CAS cleared 28 of the Russians accused of doping and they may now compete at the Pyeongchang Games starting next week but only if given invitations by the International Olympic Committee.
Of the others 11 had their lifetime bans lifted due to “insufficent evidence” but are still banned from the Games in South Korea.
Walden said Rodchenkov had testified fully and credibly at CAS.
“His truth has been verified by forensic evidence, other whistleblowers, and, more recently, recovery of the Moscow lab’s secret database, showing thousands of dirty tests that were covered up,” he said.
He claimed that the ruling indicated that self-policing in international sports had been a “monumental failure.”
“If athletes want to compete clean, they must use their collective power to force reform.
“They have to burn the current system to the ground. Otherwise, doping should simply be permitted so at least the playing field is level.”
The news was met with glee in Moscow with top Russian officials saying the ruling proved a state-sponsored doping system did not exist.
“We are very glad for our athletes,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“The decision proves that energetic work to stand up for our rights in court and elsewhere — it is justified, it can be effective and it should continue.
“And we are hoping that this work will certainly continue.”


Halep wins Dubai tiebreaker to secure 20th title

Updated 23 February 2020

Halep wins Dubai tiebreaker to secure 20th title

  • Wimbledon champion wins her second Dubai Championships title

DUBAI: Top-seeded Simona Halep won her 20th singles title after prevailing in a third-set tiebreaker to beat Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the Dubai Championships final on Saturday.
No. 2-ranked Halep was 3-1 down in the third set. The Romanian broke to lead 6-5, but Rybakina’s powerful hitting forced the tiebreaker. Rybakina led 4-3 but Halep converted the only match point.
“It was amazing,” Halep said of the 2 1/2-hour final. “(Rybakina) fought till the end. She didn’t give up any balls. It was really tough mentally. The pressure was very high. But I want it badly, so that’s why I fought till the end.”
The Wimbledon champion won her second Dubai title.
Rybakina knocked out Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in earlier rounds, and was playing her fourth final of the young WTA season. She’s lost three of them.
Rybakina is projected to rise two spots to a career-high No. 17 in Monday’s rankings update.
“She’s strong. She’s tall. She has power,” Halep said. “I think she’s really good to get into the top 10 very soon.”