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International court fast-tracks Russian Olympic appeal

Members of the Russian national team at the Track and Field Championships in Cheboksary, Russia, on June 21.
(Nikolai Alexandrov / Associated Press)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Monday that it will expedite hearings for 68 Russian athletes seeking to overturn their Olympic bans.

CAS said it will issue its decision no later than July 21, about two weeks before the 2016 Summer Games are scheduled to begin in Rio de Janeiro.

The IAAF, which governs track worldwide, banned the entire Russian track team last year after a World Anti-Doping Agency report presented evidence of systemic cheating among athletes, coaches and officials.

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The Russian Olympic Committee filed its appeal with CAS after the ban was upheld in June.

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Some of the country’s track athletes are pursing another path to Rio, applying for an IAAF exception that allows individuals to compete as “neutrals” if they have aided in the anti-doping effort or can prove they have not used performance-enhancing drugs in the past.

Runner Yulia Stepanova, who was banned for doping but later provided evidence to authorities, was cleared to compete by the IAAF last week.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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