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15 Aug, 2016 08:11

Russian long jumper Klishina wins appeal, allowed to compete at Rio Olympics

Long jumper Darya Klishina, the only Russian track and field athlete cleared to take part in the 2016 Olympics, but who was then banned from competing at the last minute by her athletic federation, has finally won her appeal and will join the Rio Games.

Early Monday morning, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), temporarily based at a beachfront hotel in Rio, ruled that Klishina is eligible to take part in the Olympics, overruling a last minute ban imposed on her by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). In rendering its decision, the court noted that Klishina has been training outside Russia for the last three years and passed drug testing regularly, the Associated Press reports.

READ MORE: Russia misses out while former drug cheats take their place in Rio

The IAAF has confirmed that Klishina is now allowed to join the Games and will take part in qualifications on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old was the only Russian athlete cleared to participate in the Rio Games by the IAAF, but the federation backtracked on its decision last week after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren allegedly introduced some kind of “new information” concerning the Russian athlete.

Despite this, the CAS came to the conclusion that Klishina had “complied with the relevant criteria because of her permanent residence outside Russia... despite the additional information provided by Prof. McLaren.”

The CAS ruled that Klishina had “established that she was subject to fully compliant drug-testing in- and out-of-competition outside of Russia.”

"One of the arguments we used is that Darya was denied due process - the ability to see evidence, challenge evidence analyze evidence. Though in the end, the reason they decided to reverse the decision was on the merits of the evidence itself - they looked at the new evidence, and decided she was clean," Paul Greene, the well-known sports lawyer representing her told RT, mentioning that his client was feeling "great relief."

"Now it is time for Darya to do what she was born to do - compete in the long jump. It has been very difficult for her - she has been focused on this and not competing."

The rest of Russia’s track-and-field athletes were banned from the Olympics by CAS last month.

Darya Klishina attended the court hearing on Sunday and then trained at a track near the Olympic Stadium on Sunday night, while awaiting the court’s final decision. It is now clear that her efforts on the track that evening weren’t wasted.

Ahead of the CAS hearing, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said in commenting on Klishina’s case that the accusations against Russian athletes had been part of a “campaign directed against Russian sport, to discredit it. It’s beyond the realm of common sense,” AP quotes the Russian official as saying.

In a Saturday statement, Klishina said “I am a clean athlete and have proved that already many times and beyond any doubt.” The long jumper also said that she has been based in the US for three years and “almost exclusively tested outside of the Anti-Doping system in question.”