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Expected decision of French Anti-Doping Agency on Belarusian canoeists

The decision the French Anti-Doping Agency has made with regard to Belarusian canoeists was an expected one, BelTA learned from Belarusian Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko on 21 January. 

“It was an expected decision. We didn't doubt it. We have repeatedly argued for it, including on the eve of the Olympic Games. Let me remind you that our team inability's to participate in the Games certainly lost us some medals,” said the Belarusian Sports and Tourism Minister. 

In his words, the situation has demonstrated double standards in sport to the entire world. 

BelTA reported earlier that on 21 January the French Anti-Doping Agency officially notified the National Olympic Committee of Belarus that the agency has no complaints about four out of the five Belarusian rowers, who had been suspected of violating anti-doping rules during a training session in France in April 2016. 

The four rowers the French Anti-Doping Agency has no complaints about are Andrei Bogdanovich, Alexander Bogdanovich, Alexander Lepeshko, and Dmitry Khilchenko. 

“Respectively all the Belarusian arguments stating that the International Canoe Federation (ICF) had no reasons to punish the Belarusian canoe and kayak team are now officially validated,” stressed Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus Anatoly Kotov. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is expected to deliver its ruling on the case of Belarusian canoeists by 27 January, provided nothing changes. Anatoly Kotov also remarked that if the Belarusian suit is satisfied, the National Olympic Committee intends to use the available legal instruments as much as possible in order to punish the International Canoe Federation. 

It has to be done in order to at least compensate for the moral damage the Belarusian canoeists suffered when they missed out on the opportunity to take part in the Olympics. 

The Belarusian men's canoe and kayak national team was training for the Rio Olympics in France in spring 2016. The team had a surprise visit and a search by police. 

The International Canoe Federation accused the Belarusian team of using banned substances and imposed a one-year ban, which prevented the team from participating in the 2016 Summer Games. 

Belarus appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. The court refused to fast-track the proceedings. The hearing was held in Switzerland on 7 November 2016.