Court of Arbitration for Sports Upholds Ban, Rejects Russian Weightlifting Federation Appeal

Last week, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced it would be prohibiting all Russian weightlifters and weightlifting officials from taking part in competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games (which are set to open this Friday, with lifting beginning on Saturday). As expected, the Russian Weightlifting Federation quickly filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an international body that is often a last line of decision for settling disputes between sport governing bodies and international federations.

On Wednesday, August 3rd, CAS announced that its ad hoc committee — assembled in Rio de Janeiro for decisions surrounding the Olympic Games — has upheld the IWF decision, leaving the Russian Federation’s appeal dead in the water. 

The CAS committee has considered 18 cases already in Brazil — which, according to the body itself, is “a new record of cases for one edition of the Olympic Games” — the majority of which focus on Russian athletes in the wake of accusations of systematic and a state-sponsored doping scandal. The CAS decision specifically highlighted and refused two appeals for Russian teams: weightlifting and rowing.

An excerpt from the CAS media release (English language version) related to the weightlifting appeal is below:

Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF) v/ International Weightlifting Federation (IWF): the RWF has appealed against its suspension; a hearing was held this morning and the Panel in charge of it decided to dismiss the application, considering that the IWF Rules allowing the IWF to sanction a national federation which “by reason of conduct connected with or associated with doping or anti-doping rule violations, brings the sport of weightlifting into disrepute” (Article 12.4 of the IWF Anti-doping Policy) was valid and was properly applied in the circumstances.

However, while the Russian Federation’s appeal on the general ban has failed, several individual Russian lifters have filed their own motions to compete: Tima Turieva, Ruslan Albegov, Adam Maligov, and Artem Okulov, all of whom filed appeals with the CAS on August 3rd. While these four lifters are now appealing to be allowed to compete on an individual basis, there is no word on a timeline for a next round of CAS decisions.