MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS, Andrey Kartashov/. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is set to announce its verdict on the appeal of three Russian biathlon racers against their disqualification either in late August or in early September, a lawyer for the Russian biathletes told TASS on Tuesday.
The biathletes at the issue are Olga Zaitseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina and, according to earlier reports, the Swiss-based court was expected to announce a verdict on their appeals in mid-July.
"In line with the most recent notification from the CAS, the dateline to prepare the announcement of decisions in regard to Olga Zaitseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina has been extended again," Alexei Panich, a lawyer representing interests of three Russian biathletes in the CAS, told TASS.
"We should be expecting a decision concerning three Russian female biathletes either in late August or in early September," Panich added.
All three Russian female biathletes, who have officially wrapped up their sports careers in November 2017, were banned for life from all sports activities by the IOC, which also ruled to cancel all their results achieved at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Zaitseva, Romanova and Vilukhina, together with another Russian biathlete, Yekaterina Shumilova, won the silver of the 2014 Olympics in biathlon team relay competition but the IOC cancelled their result. Vilukhina was also stripped of her 2014 Olympics silver medal in the women’s biathlon sprint event.
All three of them filed an appeal with the Swiss-based court more than two years ago, but the start of the hearings was repeatedly postponed due to various reasons to finally begin in early March this year.
Doping abuse charges and the following suspension of the three Russian biathletes were based on the testimony of Grigory Rodchenkov, who is a former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.
Whistleblower Rodchenkov and his doping allegations
Former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov told Western media in the spring of 2016 that Russian athletes largely used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval of the national sports authorities.
On the whole, the ex-doping official claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.
The former chief of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory also informed WADA about the so-called list of Russian athletes, who on the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics allegedly used a doping cocktail that he concocted himself and named after a popular Soviet-era soft drink, ‘Duchess Cocktail.’
On June 18, 2016, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against Rodchenkov on charges of power abuse. On September 21, 2017 Moscow’s Basmanny District Court arrested him in absentia.
In November 2017, the Russian Investigative Committee announced that it would seek the extradition of Rodchenkov, who absconded to the United States in 2015. In addition, an obstruction of justice charges were filed against him. He was also put on the international wanted list.