VLADIVOSTOK (Sputnik) – Around 4,000 residents of Russia’s Far Eastern Primorsky Territory attended the rally organized in Vladivostok in support of Russian athletes amid the doping scandal, the administration of the region said Saturday in a statement.
“In Primorye [Primorsky Territory], on Saturday, February 3, a rally was held in support of the Olympic athletes… About 4,000 citizens of Primorye took to the streets this day together with the whole Russia to support our athletes who will participate in the Winter Olympics,” the statement published on the administration’s official website reads.
The participants unfolded a large Russian flag at the end of the event in a sign of support and solidarity with Russian athletes.
On Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) revealed that it had ruled to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes against the IOC Disciplinary Commission’s decisions on their disqualification and ban from the Olympics for life over violation of anti-doping rules, and partially upheld the remaining 11 appeals.
The IOC, however, said it regretted the CAS decision, and expressed plans to carefully consider the CAS reasoned decisions once they are available for a possible appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
The scandal around the alleged systematic use of prohibited chemicals in Russian sports erupted in 2015 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of multiple violations and suspended Moscow laboratory of RUSADA, the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency.
In 2016, Richard McLaren, head of the WADA investigative team, presented a two-part report alleging the existence of a state-supported doping program in Russia. Russian officials have refuted the allegations while admitting that the Russian sports had some issues with doping abuse.
The scandal resulted in a lifetime ban for a number of Russian athletes, the revision of the 2014 Olympics results as well as disqualification of the Russian national team from the 2018 Games, allowing only “clean” Russian athletes to compete in the Olympics under a neutral flag.