Track superstar Usain Bolt has welcomed the decision to uphold a ban on Russian athletes at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday rejected an appeal by Russia’s Olympic committee and 68 of the country’s athletes against their suspension following allegations of a doping conspiracy.
The decision of sport’s highest tribunal increases the likelihood that the International Olympic Committee will impose a blanket ban on Russian competitors from all sports next week.
“It’s sad, but rules are rules,” said the world’s fastest man, who is in London to compete at this weekend’s Muller Anniversary Games.
“Doping violations in track and field is getting really bad. If you cheat or go or against the rules, this will scare a lot of people.”
Russia’s initial punishment was imposed by athletics’ world governing body the IAAF after a bombshell report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) found the country had run a state-sponsored doping programme.
Further allegations implicating Russian competitors from a far wider range of summer and winter sports were published by Wada this week and the IOC is set to deliver further sanctions next week, with the Games set to start in Brazil on 5 August.
Russian pole vault Olympic champion Yelena Isinbaeva called the decision “a funeral for athletics”, while a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “a crime against sport”.