RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Darya Klishina, the only Russian athlete at the Rio Olympics for track and field, attended a hearing Sunday to determine whether she can compete, as her country’s sports minister said the allegations against her were part of a campaign to tarnish Russia’s reputation.
Klishina’s lawyer Paul Greene told The Associated Press before the hearing that the long jumper was to testify in person before the Court of Arbitration for Sport at a luxury beachside hotel after track’s world governing body, the IAAF, retracted her eligibility for the Olympics. CAS said it hopes to issue its verdict by Sunday night.
“She plans to say the truth, which is that she’s a clean athlete” who meets IAAF criteria by having trained in the U.S. since 2014 with regular drug testing outside Russia, Greene said. The hearing, two days before Klishina’s event begins, is “not the easiest thing to deal with, but she’s a very strong person,” he added.
Greene said the IAAF case against Klishina relies on confidential evidence from a report on Russian doping by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren, with a key piece of evidence being scratch marks found on bottles containing drug test samples she gave in Russia.
McLaren wrote in the publicly available version of his preliminary report that Russian security services were able to open supposedly tamper-proof bottles with the intent of swapping tainted samples for clean urine, leaving behind telltale scratches on the glass.
“In a normal case, you would have evidence that’s presented that underlies charges. That hasn’t been done, that hasn’t happened here,” Greene said. “We’ve just been told something; we haven’t been shown it. We haven’t had the chance to look at it, to view it, have a science person analyze — nothing. And we believe for that reason, we should prevail because I don’t think legally that can be upheld.”
In comments to the R-Sport news agency, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the accusations against Klishina were part of a “campaign directed against Russian sport, to discredit it. It’s beyond the realm of common sense.”
If she wins, Klishina will compete in long jump qualifying Tuesday night. The final is Wednesday.
Klishina, a former European indoor champion, previously was the only one of 68 Russians allowed to compete in the sport in Rio amid a massive doping scandal. The IAAF had accepted her application because she is based in the United States. The rest of the Russian team was banned over allegations of a widespread, state-sponsored doping program.