Russia's lone track-and-field athlete at Rio wins doping appeal

Russian long jumper Darya Klishina is eligible to take part in Tuesday's Olympic event because she has been based outside of Russia for the last three years and has been subjected to regular drug testing.

(AP Photo/Nikolai Alexandrov, File)
Russian long jumper Darya Klishina speaks at the national track and field championship in Cheboksary, Russia in June 2016. Klishina was banned from competition in Rio Saturday. She was the only athlete who met the standards when track's governing body, the IAAF, banned the Russian team from the 2016 Summer Olympics in June.

The lone Russian track and field athlete at the Olympics has won her appeal to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled early Monday that Darya Klishina is eligible to take part in Tuesday's long jump qualifying because she has been based outside of Russia for the last three years and has been subjected to regular drug testing.

"With the appeal now behind me, I can thankfully focus my time and attention on competing tomorrow night and enjoying my Olympic experience, which I have dreamed of since I first began long jumping as a young girl," Klishina said in a post on her Facebook page.

She was the only one of 68 Russians cleared to participate in Rio by the IAAF, track and field's governing body. It tried to ban her from the Olympics last week, however, after receiving what it said was new information from World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.

The IAAF has not disclosed what new information it has.

CAS, however, concluded that Klishina "complied with the relevant criteria because of her permanent residence outside Russia ... despite the additional information provided by Prof. McLaren."

"Relevantly, the athlete established that she was subject to fully compliant drug-testing in- and out-of-competition outside of Russia for the 'relevant period.'"

The IAAF on Monday issued a short statement accepting the ruling.

"We instigated a review process following new evidence presented to us," it said. "The outcome we reached to revoke Darya Klishina's exceptional eligibility was not upheld by CAS despite the information received from McLaren and she is therefore eligible to compete in Rio."

Klishina attended Sunday's hearing in person at the court's temporary base at a beachfront hotel in Rio, then trained near the Olympic Stadium on Sunday night while awaiting the court's decision.

The long jump final is scheduled for Wednesday.

Unlike in previous legal battles over Russian doping, the Russian Sports Ministry and the country's Olympic committee have taken a back seat in Klishina's case, with her American management company in a leading role.

In comments to the R-Sport news agency before the decision was announced, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the accusations against Klishina were part of a "campaign directed against Russian sport, to discredit it. It's beyond the realm of common sense."

The rest of the Russian track team remains banned from all international competition over allegations of a widespread, state-sponsored doping program. The sanction was upheld for the Olympics by CAS last month.

The doping issue surfaced in the Olympic swimming competition this past week when American swimmer Lilly King made disparaging comments about Russian rival Yulia Efimova, who was twice suspended for doping violations. The ensuing global media attention in some ways brought more attention to the issue than the proceedings of an alphabet soup of antidoping agencies, wrote Christa Bryant of The Christian Science Monitor.

The facts regarding Efimova's case are not black and white – at least, not based on what has come to light so far. But what is clear is that the fight to clean up sport has entered a new stage in which those most affected by cheating – the athletes themselves – are no longer willing to leave the field to the top officials in sport.

“You’re shaking your finger No. 1, and you’ve been caught for drug cheating. I’m just not a fan,” said King, after Efimova won her first semifinal heat. King beat her rival’s time in the second semifinal, then outswam Efimova in the final Monday night, capturing gold in her Olympic debut race, the 100-meter breaststroke. “It’s incredible, just winning a gold medal, and knowing I did it clean.”

King’s cri de coeur, amplified by the world’s largest sporting stage, reflects a cultural change that has opened the door for such frank discussion. Rather than being criticized, as US Olympic swimmer Shirley Babashoff was in the 1970s for publicly accusing her East German competitors of doping, King has been championed by the US media.

But prominent figures in the doping debate say the spat is also due to failures on the part of global authorities.


AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson contributed to this report.

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