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Banned Russians withdraw last-minute Olympic appeal

Banned Russians withdraw last-minute Olympic appeal

Dozens of Russian athletes banned from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics today withdrew their last-minute appeal to a Swiss court aimed at allowing them to compete in the Games.

Earlier, 47 Russians implicated in doping lost a final appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which sought to overturn the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar them from competition.

The IOC is based in the Swiss city of Lausanne, where a local court may have offered the Russians a final chance to force the IOC’s hand.

The Russians had an emergency hearing scheduled in Lausanne for 2pm (8pm Cambodian time), two hours after the opening ceremonies kicked off in South Korea.

“The motion for interim measures has been withdrawn and therefore this afternoon’s hearing is cancelled,” the Tribunal d’arrondissement de Lausanne said in a statement said.

The court gave no reason for the Russian withdrawal.

It was not clear whether the Swiss court would have been able to rule on the issue in time to give any of the Russian athletes a chance to compete in Pyeongchang.

The Russian situation has proved highly contentious in the build-up to Pyeongchang, after their team was banned. But 168 “clean” Russian athletes have been allowed to take part as neutrals.

Russia’s suspension in December follows the uncovering of systemic doping that reached its peak at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, where host nation Russia topped the medals table.

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