Russia on Thursday lashed out at a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reject an appeal against a ban for doping that will see the track and field team miss the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“In my view, this is a subjective and somewhat politicized decision for which there is no legal basis,” Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS news agency.
The rejection of the appeal was “devoid of any logic,” Igor Kazikov, the head of the Russian Olympic delegation, said, the R-Sport news agency reported.
The Kremlin expressed “deep regret” over the decision taken by the court in Lausanne and said that it was unfair to ban all athletes from competing at the Games.
“The idea of collective responsibility from our point of view can hardly be considered acceptable,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
“We are talking about athletes training for the Olympics who have no connection to doping, who have no connection to any accusations or suspicions,” Peskov said.
“On this we can only express deep regret.”
The CAS ruling backed up a decision from athletics governing body the IAAF to slap a blanket ban on Russia’s track and field team ahead of the Olympics over evidence of state-sponsored doping.
The decision Thursday will now see Russian athletics stars such as pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and hurdler Sergey Shubenkov miss out on Rio.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Isinbayeva said the ruling would deal a mortal blow to international athletics.
“Thank you all for this funeral for athletics,” Isinbayeva told TASS, labeling the decision “a blatant political order.”
Hammer thrower Sergei Litvinov, who was also on Russia’s track and field team for next month’s Olympics, told The Associated Press he is “very sad” to miss the games but hopes the team’s ban will mean more serious reforms.
Litvinov said he’ll “try not to lose motivation for next year.”
He added that Russian athletics officials failed to act on doping in time and hoped “that this situation can encourage the management” to continue reforms.
Under Thursday’s ruling, 68 Russian track and field athletes who were applying to compete in Rio will not be going to the Olympics.
The situation could be set to get much worse for Moscow as the International Olympic Committee said this week it would take into account the CAS ruling as it weighs up whether to ban all Russian competitors from Rio over more widespread doping accusations.