IAAF: Athletics-Russia unlikely to be re-admitted before November

Antonio JonesFeb 08, 2017

The Russian track and field doping ban that knocked numerous country's top athletes from the Rio Olympics last summer will be maintained because of continued problems with testing at the national level, the International Association of Athletics Federations said on Monday.

However you spin it, there will be no Team Russia at the IAAF World Championships in London this August.

Russian Federation has continually denied the existence of an "institutional conspiracy" to cover up positive drugs tests, despite the publication of an independent WADA report in December which found more than 1,000 athletes across about 30 sports were involved in a state-backed doping programme.

Russian athletics looked set for conflict with the IAAF over doping even as the government admitted on Tuesday some top coaches relied on giving banned substances to their athletes.

- RusAF explains why in the past it has been unable to and how in the future it will be able to enforce all suspensions imposed on athletes and athlete support personnel under its jurisdiction in an effective and timely fashion. Another option would allow for athletes under the age of 15 to compete in global competitions as "neutral athletes", again meaning they would not represent Russian.

Silnov said he was opposed to the idea of neutral athletes in principle and might have refused the status during his competitive career, but said he would accept others doing so if there was no other way to compete. "Clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system". "Which means that Russia as a nation, or RusAF [the Russian Athletics Federation], is not recommended by us to be reinstated until that time", he added.

Russian Federation has been barred from global track and field competition - including the Rio Olympics - since November 2015 following a damning report alleging state-sponsored doping in the country in Olympic sports over several years.

Sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS news agency that if any Russian athletes qualify as neutrals then Moscow would guarantee funding.

The IAAF confirmed that as of Monday, 35 Russian athletes had applied to compete as neutral athletes in worldwide competition in 2017. They can still participate in the world championship provided they are okayed by the IAAF.

Kenya-born athletes running for Bahrain at the Rio Olympics previous year were Ruth Jebet who won the 3,000 meters steeplechase event and Eunice Kirwa who took silver in the marathon.

The IAAF said the ban would not affect 15 applications to switch allegiance which have already been made.

Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, the African representative on the IAAF Council, will lead the working group.

"Our present rules are being manipulated to the detriment of athletics' credibility", he said.

"Lots of the individual athletes concerned, many of whom are transferred at a young age, do not understand that they are forfeiting their nationality. This must end and a new way forward found which respects the athletes' rights and the sports' dignity".

The new ban is a huge blow to the country, which has been plagued by doping scandals in the past two years. The IAAF says it has received presentations from Morocco and Ukraine on their progress.

Instead, the IAAF said it would assess "strategic goals" for growing the sport, "targeting cities from countries and regions which will best assist the delivery of those aims".

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