LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) A Russian runner's two-year doping suspension was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday because her sample was retested beyond the eight-year statute of limitations.
Thursday's ruling means Tatyana Andrianova will be able to keep the bronze medal she won in the 800 meters at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
Andrianova's doping sample was retested by the IAAF in 2015 and came back positive for the steroid stanozolol. Russian officials imposed a two-year ban and disqualified all her results between August 2005 and August 2007.
However, CAS ruled that 2013 should have been the cutoff for any disciplinary proceedings based on the eight-year statute in place at the time.
The case is a blow to track and field's world governing body, the IAAF, which had argued that it could act based on a 2015 ruling that increased the statute of limitations to 10 years.
The CAS arbitrator, Ulrich Haas of Germany, ruled that the Russian federation had ''erroneously opened disciplinary proceedings'' against Andrianova two years after the cutoff date.
''While disappointed in this ruling, the IAAF acknowledges the judgement of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and will continue our fight against drugs in our sport,''' the IAAF said in a statement.
Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency told The Associated Press that the IAAF wrongly interpreted the rule change in April 2015, when it decided to retest samples from the 2005 and 2007 world championships.
Testers found 28 athletes had tested positive at both championships, but only the samples from 2005 missed the deadline. Cases based on samples retested from the 2007 championships remain valid, as does earlier retesting of 2005 samples that the IAAF performed in 2013, catching five medal winners.
The IAAF has been under pressure to clean up the sport since a WADA commission report detailed state-supported doping in Russian track and field. The country's track team has since been banned from competition and could miss this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Another athlete who could benefit after Andrianova's ban was overturned is Russian hammer thrower Tatyana Beloborodova, who won silver at the 2005 worlds and gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
The IAAF said last week she was provisionally suspended but refused to comment on reports in Russian state media that this was because of a retested sample from 2005.