Russia have 'good chance' to be in Rio, says Litvinov

Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:04am EDT
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By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian hammer thrower Sergei Litvinov believes the country's athletes will be given a lifeline by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to compete at next month's Rio Olympics.

Sport's highest court is set to rule by Thursday on the country's suspension from track and field and Litvinov is confident CAS will overturn the ban in time for the Games.

"From a legal point of view, we have very good chances," the 30-year-old told Reuters ahead of the Aug. 5-22 Olympics.

Litvinov, who won bronze at the 2014 European Championships, would be one of Russia's biggest hopes for a medal in Rio but with three weeks to go he still does not know if he can compete.

The sport's world governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned Russia's track and field athletes last year after a World Anti-Doping Agency report uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping within the country.

The ban was extended last month, ruling Russia's athletes out of the Games, subject to an appeal by the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) to CAS.

At the end of June, Litvinov wrote a letter to IAAF president Sebastian Coe, asking him to explain the criteria needed for Russian athletes to compete in international events.

"My letter wasn't directly addressed to Coe, but was more to those living in the West," said the athlete, who trains just outside Moscow and is coached by his father Sergei Litvinov, who won gold at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in the hammer.   Continued...

Sergey Litvinov of Russia competes in the men's hammer throw final during the European Athletics Championships at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich August 16, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble