CAS set to announce ruling on 45 Russian athletes ahead of Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Alexander Legkov, a cross-country skiing gold medalist, is just one of the 45 waiting to hear whether they can complete in Pyeongchang
Updated 09 February 2018

CAS set to announce ruling on 45 Russian athletes ahead of Winter Olympics opening ceremony

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea: Forty-five Russian athletes will have to wait until Friday, the opening day of the Pyeongchang Olympics, to find out if they can compete.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport heard the case of the 45 Russian athletes — including numerous medal contenders — and two coaches on Thursday. It will announce its ruling on Friday, nine hours before the opening ceremony.
Six other Russian athletes’ appeals were thrown out. CAS said it “lacked jurisdiction” to hear the cases.
Those six cases had been filed separately with applications by seven members of Russian support staff. CAS said its arbiters reviewed written submissions and “determined that the CAS ad hoc division lacked jurisdiction to deal with any of the two applications.”
The six athletes include two world champion speedskaters, Denis Yuskov and Pavel Kulizhnikov, plus athletes from biathlon and ski jumping.
All six were originally refused invitations to compete by the IOC. Unlike those in the group of 45, all six have previously served bans of various lengths for failed doping tests. The IOC had said it wouldn’t invite athletes previously banned for doping.
The first competitions of the games, including a US-Russia curling match, had already started when CAS heard the cases at a luxury resort in the mountains near Pyeongchang.
“We are hopeful that the panel will follow our argumentation and respect the rights of the athletes,” said Philippe Baertsch, a lawyer for the group of 45 Russians who are still awaiting their verdict. In attendance with Baertsch for that hearing were Elena Nikitina, the 2014 bronze medalist in women’s skeleton, and Tatiana Ivanova, a luger who won silver in the team event in 2014.
Leaving the hearing, Nikitina said the three arbiters — from Canada, Switzerland and Australia — “were pleasant and we were listened to.”
“We can’t comment on what just happened at the panel. I’ll just say that we came here to defend our good name and we were fully listened to by the CAS panel,” said luge coach Albert Demchenko, who was at the hearing. “All our documents and words were heard.”
The Russians are seeking to overturn the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to invite them to the games. If they win, it would force the IOC to accept athletes it considers to be linked to doping offenses.
The Russian team is formally banned, so they would have to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag. With 168 IOC-approved athletes, it is already one of the biggest teams in Pyeongchang.
The IOC won’t comment on individual cases, but says its invitation process was based on evidence from a newly obtained Moscow laboratory database detailing doping in previous years.
Other athletes whose cases will be heard include Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic gold medalist in short-track speedskating, and Alexander Legkov, a cross-country skiing gold medalist.
Sergei Parkhomenko, the general secretary of the Russian Bobsled Federation, said athletes from his team were training in Siberia, ready to fly to South Korea at a moment’s notice if CAS gives them the green light.
“We’re hoping for a fair and logical decision from the court,” he said. “If there’s a positive ruling, they’ll fly in.”
Russian officials and athletes have indicated that not all of those who have filed appeals plan to compete if they win. Some are reportedly no longer in training, while others may not be included on full rosters in sports like hockey.

US SPEEDSKATER IN 'COIN TOSS' STORM

A tweet posted by the account of speedskater Shani Davis has blasted the use of a coin toss to select the US flagbearer for the opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Games. Davis and luge athlete Erin Hamlin each got four votes in the athlete-led process. Each of the eight US winter sports federations got to nominate one athlete and have another serve as a voter. The US Olympic Committee said it was predetermined that a coin toss would be used in the case of a tie and if the athletes could not find a way to choose a clear winner. The tweet said the selection was made “dishonorably,” and included a reference to Black History Month. Davis is black, Hamlin is white. Davis’ account is verified, but it was unknown if he sent the tweet or if someone with access to his account did.


Pakistan suspends consular services in Dubai for two weeks

Updated 6 min 34 sec ago

Pakistan suspends consular services in Dubai for two weeks

  • Those who want to benefit from the consulate’s ration distribution program will have to register themselves online
  • The consulate has partnered with Uber to distribute food packets among the needy

DUBAI: Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Dubai has suspended consular services for two weeks since the government of the emirate has restricted the movement of its residents by asking them to stay at home all the time while it implements its 24-hour sterilization program for the next 14 days.
According to the consulate general spokesperson, Ashique Shaikh, the services will only be available for emergency cases.
The consulate has also advised all Pakistanis not to visit the mission during the restrictions imposed by the authorities in Dubai.
The spokesperson said that all identity card or passport issuance or renewals had been put on hold for two weeks. “This period can also be extended. However, those who need the services urgently can call up the consulate,” he said.
The consulate has also asked all Pakistani nationals who are facing tough financial circumstances to register online for the ongoing ration distribution program. In a tweet, it said: “Keeping in view Dubai Government’s 24-hours sterilization programme and restriction of movements for two weeks, all needy Pakistani nationals in Dubai and Northern Emirates are requested to register online.”
“Since we started the distribution of ration last week, a total of 5,100 families have been given packets containing basic necessities,” the spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday.
For now, the consulate has partnered with Uber to deliver these packets to people living in Dubai due to the restriction on movement. “We do not want people crowding the consulate so we have taken the services of Uber to do the deliveries in Dubai. But people have to register online for it as well,” Shaikh added.
“The consulate staff are distributing the ration packs in other emirates themselves,” said the spokesperson.
The ration bags include essential food items such as rice, milk, flour, biscuits and oil. They are packed separately for families and individuals who are either stuck in the country due to flight closures or face a financial crunch after being laid off.
The bags are enough to last 15 days for a family.
The Consul General of Pakistan in Dubai, Ahmed Amjad Ali, had underscored the extraordinary nature of circumstances while talking to Arab News earlier.
However, he had also added: “Everything is going very smoothly and we hope to do more home deliveries.”