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Belarusian canoeists have drugs ban overturned by CAS

(Reuters) - The Belarusian men's canoe and kayak team was wrongly banned from last year's Olympics for drug offences and has had its suspension from all competition lifted, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Monday.

A CAS Panel ruled that there was "insufficient evidence" to uphold several alleged anti-doping offences at a training camp in April, 2016.

"Accordingly, in the absence of multiple anti-doping rule violations, the Panel found that there was no justification to

uphold the imposition of a one-year ban on the Belarus senior men's Canoe and Kayak teams and decided to set aside the decision taken by the ICF Executive Committee," CAS said in a statement.

The Belarus Canoe Association (BCA) and team members appealed against the ban, imposed by the International Canoe Federation in July 2016 after a raid by French police and customs on their training camp in Temple-sur-Lot in France when various substances were confiscated.

The banned drug meldonium was found in samples of five of 17 athletes who took a drugs test.

Although CAS has ruled in the athletes' favour, it has not released the reasons behind the decision which it said would be published on its website in due course.

(Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond)