Russia sports officials have reacted to the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to uphold Russia’s international ban, saying that the verdict unfairly affects athletes who have never been implicated in doping.

The president of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili, said that the decision to ban the Russian flag at major sporting events for the next two years, including at the Olympics, was ‘tough,’ but that it will make national athletes more motivated to win medals.

There are things which were definitely imposed by other people, but it’s unfair to ban athletes from using the national flag, the majority of whom have clean record on doping,” Mamiashvili said.

I’m disappointed that our team has been banned from performing under the national flag, but they cannot take our pride in our country, in our grandfathers who brought peace to the entire world by winning the war. We will be angrier and more motivated,” the president added.

The president of the Russian Cross-Country Ski Association, Elena Vyalbe, said she was satisfied with the ruling to cut the initial ban from four to two years, regretting, however, that Russian athletes will compete under the neutral flag in Tokyo and Beijing.

It’s difficult to say something right now. It’s good the ban was reduced, but we will compete at the two next Games under a neutral flag. That’s a shame. I don’t want to expand on the topic of double standards,” she said.

On Thursday, the CAS upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decision to penalize Russia for alleged doping offenses, cutting its initial ban from four years to two.