Two Russians swimmers launch appeal against Rio ban

Sat Jul 30, 2016 4:38pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russian swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev have launched an appeal against the ruling banning them from next month's Rio Olympic Games even though they have never failed a doping test.

The duo want the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the decision of swimming's world governing body FINA to ban them for not falling within the IOC's new criteria on allowing Russian competitors to compete.

The criteria states that only if they have not previously failed a drugs test and can prove they are clean and not associated with the country's doping regime are Russian athletes eligible to take part in the Games.

Lobintsev and U.S.-based Morozov were part of Russia's bronze-medal winning 4x100m freestyle team at the London 2012 Games, while Lobintsev also won a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay at Beijing 2008.

The two swimmers were suspended after they were named in relation to the "disappearing positives" revelations - false reporting of positive samples - in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-led independent report into doping in Russia.

Neither swimmer has ever served a ban for a positive test, and both have repeatedly said they are clean athletes.

Their bans came after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week handed the responsibility of banning Russian athletes back to the relevant sports federations.

Any Russian who has served a doping suspension is automatically ruled out but others were also to be banned if they could not effectively "prove themselves clean".   Continued...

Russia's Vladimir Morozov reacts during the men's 100m freestyle semi-final at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 5, 2015. Morozov was disqualified for a false start.   REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke