MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has confirmed that it will appeal its four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data.
The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, sent a formal letter Friday disagreeing with the sanctions imposed earlier this month by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The case is now heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
MORE: WADA imposes four-year ban
Next year’s Olympics in Tokyo will be the third consecutive edition of the games preceded by a legal battle over Russian doping issues.
RUSADA said it “disputes the (WADA) notice in its entirety,” including the evidence of tampering with the data archive. The data was handed over in January and was meant to clear up past cover-ups, but has led to more legal tussles.
RUSADA’s own CEO, Yuri Ganus, attached his own note of protest to Friday’s letter. Ganus is critical of Russian officials and had disagreed with the decision to appeal. He was overruled by his agency’s founders, which include some of Russia’s most influential sports leaders.
The WADA sanctions ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup.
However, Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as neutrals if they pass a vetting process which examines their history of drug testing and possible involvement in cover-ups at the lab. They will not be able to compete under the name “Olympic Athletes of Russia” as many athletes did in the 2018 Winter Games, where they won 17 medals.
Some anti-doping advocates, including outgoing WADA vice president Linda Helleland of Norway and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, have expressed disappointment that Russian athletes were not completely banned from the Olympics.
Russia will be allowed to participate in the Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland, that open Jan. 9.
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