7 Oct 2011

Court overturns Olympic doping rule

7:00 am on 7 October 2011

The highest court in sports has overturned a disputed IOC doping rule, clearing the way for reigning Olympic 400 metre champion LaShawn Merritt to defend his title at next year's London Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced that it invalidated the International Olympic Committee rule that bars any athlete who has received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next summer or winter Games.

The CAS panel says the rule is "invalid and unenforceable" because it amounted to a second sanction and did not comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

The case centred on Merritt, the American 400 metre gold medallist in Beijing who had been ineligible under the IOC rule to compete in London even though he completed his doping ban earlier this year.