North Korean athletes arrive in South for Olympics

Cross-country skiers Karen and Mark Chanloung

Cross-country skiers Karen and Mark Chanloung

CAS held that there was "insufficient" evidence that the athletes had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping at the last Winter Games, hosted by Russian Federation.

"With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated", the tribunal said.

He said it was unclear whether the 28 who had their appeals upheld would now compete in South Korea.

It was not immediately clear if any of the 28 would seek to take part in Pyeonchang.

"Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation", the organization stressed.

Expectedly, Russian President Vladimir Putin was delighted with the development, saying he was "very glad" with the turn of events.

"In this context, it is also important to note that, in his press conference, the CAS Secretary General insisted that the CAS decision "does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent".

On January 31, Putin said the IOC's decision to ban Russia from the Olympics amounted to an "outside attack" on Russian sports.

Those reinstated at the Sochi Olympics include skeleton gold-medalist Aleksander Tretyakov and cross-country-skiing gold-medalist Aleksander Legkov.

"We will continue our uncompromising fight against doping".

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Russia remains banned from entering a team in Pyeongchang by the International Olympic Committee, but the IOC has cleared almost 170 Russian nationals to compete as neutrals.

His claims were documented in the landmark McLaren report into Russian doping, which was published by the World Anti-Doping Agency in December 2016.

"We will continue our peaceful legal fight for the rights of our athletes", Peskov said.

The athletes who appealed denied being part of a state-backed doping program that investigators said was in place during the Sochi Olympics.

Greeted by a barrage of camera flashes, the North Koreans — men dressed in navy blue coats and women in red coats, both wearing fur hats — didn't speak much at the South Korean airport and later at the athletes' village in the eastern city of Gangneung. It alleged an "institutional conspiracy" among athletes and officials within the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Russian security service, the FSB.

Maksim Belugin, a member of bobsleigh teams that finished in fourth place at Sochi, is the only banned athlete not to have lodged an appeal.

Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said the CAS ruling had restored the "good name" of Russian athletes.

"Having been deprived of the chance to compete for the Olympic podium in the team pursuit, I do not accept the IOC invitation for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang".

Earlier, the International Olympic Committee already approved 169 Russian athletes for participation in Pyeongchang's Winter Olympics under a neutral flag. They would compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" - with no use of the Russian flag or national anthem permitted.

In making their decision, the CAS also reinstated the results of the athletes in Sochi.

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