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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: CAS overturns doping bans on 28 Russian athletes

Sports Shorts: CAS overturns doping bans on 28 Russian athletes

February 01, 2018 08:52 IST

A summary of sports events and sports persons, who made news on Thursday

WADA

IMAGE: A technician walks down the hallway at the Doping Control Laboratory, at the National Institute of Scientific Research Centre (INRS) Institute Armand-Frappier in Laval, Quebec. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters.

Twenty-eight Russian athletes have had their Olympic doping bans overturned and their results from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi reinstated after their appeals were upheld by sport's highest tribunal on Thursday.

 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said in a statement that it had found insufficient evidence that the 28 athletes, banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), were guilty of anti-doping violations in Sochi.

"With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld,

the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated," said the Lausanne-based tribunal.

Eleven other athletes were confirmed by CAS to have committed doping violations. However, the CAS reduced their lifetime Olympic bans to a ban from this month's Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

The IOC has banned Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month as a result of its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.

However, individual Russian athletes will be able to compete as neutrals if they can prove their anti-doping credentials.

Russia has repeatedly denied any state involvement in the doping which was exposed by an independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

CAS said its mandate was "not to determine generally whether there was an organised scheme allowing the manipulation of doping control samples....but was strictly limited to dealing with 39 individual cases and to assess the evidence applicable to each athlete on an individual basis."

'Traumatised and broken:' Victims of gymnastics doctor detail abuse in court

Larry Nassar

IMAGE: Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault, and his attorney Matt Newburg stand during victims impact statements during his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Michigan. Photograph: Rebecca Cook/Reuters.

Jessica Thomashow was a 9-year-old gymnast who still liked playing with American Girl dolls when USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar first molested her, she said in a Michigan courtroom on Wednesday.

"You took advantage of my innocence and trust," the 17-year-old high school student told Nassar, as he sat, eyes cast downward, in an orange prison jumpsuit. "Why? I ask myself that question all the time, especially when I am lying in bed, crying myself to sleep."

Over and over, women and teenagers stood on Wednesday to recount similar stories of abuse: Nassar, the famous physician who treated Olympic stars, played the role of caring doctor before sexually assaulting them in his exam room under the guise of medical treatment, sometimes with their own parents present.

Nassar, 54, previously pleaded guilty to two sets of abuse charges in Michigan's Ingham and Eaton counties. He was sentenced last week to 40 to 175 years in prison in the Ingham County case after more than 150 victims including Olympic gold medallists recounted abuse at his hands in an emotionally wrenching week-long hearing.

Michigan prosecutors said in court on Wednesday they have identified more than 265 victims in all. At least 65 victims were expected to offer statements, either written or spoken, during the Eaton County hearing, which is scheduled to last at least three days.

The case has already had major ramifications far beyond the courtroom. Dozens of victims, including international stars like the gold medallist Simone Biles, have accused officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics (USAG) and Michigan State University (MSU) - where Nassar also worked - of failing to investigate complaints stretching back decades.

The scandal's fallout has forced top officials at MSU and USAG's entire board of directors to step down. Congress is investigating both institutions as well as USOC, while Michigan's attorney general is probing the school's handling of the Nassar case.

Also on Wednesday, the police department in Meridian, Michigan, released a 2004 report confirming that it declined to pursue charges against Nassar after a 17-year-old patient accused him of touching her inappropriately during an exam.

Investigators closed the case after accepting Nassar's explanation that his actions were part of a legitimate medical procedure to relieve pain. The report was made available at the request of The Detroit News.

"We missed it," the town's manager, Frank Walsh, said in a statement. "We're not going to hide it. We were deceived."

Town and police officials will apologise to the woman, Brianne Randall-Gay, at a news conference on Thursday. Randall-Gay could not be reached on Wednesday, but she previously told The Detroit News that she was disappointed the police "just took his word."

Nassar faces a minimum of 25 years in prison in Eaton County, though he is already assured of spending the rest of his life in prison. He is also serving a 60-year federal prison term for a child pornography conviction.

At Wednesday's hearing, 30 women painted a chilling portrait of a man who used his renown and status to prey upon their innocence. Nassar, they said, offered comfort and friendship in their most vulnerable moments, when they were wracked with physical pain and desperate to succeed in an often-demanding sport.

"Larry Nassar preyed on us for his own pleasure, leaving in his wake traumatized and broken girls," Thomashow said.

Several victims who had previously been unidentified used their names for the first time, saying they had drawn strength from the scores of women who spoke at Nassar's first sentencing.

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