Russian athletes still hope to be able to compete at next year’s International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships in Birmingham as neutrals following the decision to extend their ban.
The IAAF announced last Saturday (November 25) that they would not lift Russia’s suspension first imposed in November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping in a report produced by a commission headed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Richard Pound.
Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) President Dmitry Shlyakhtin had been expecting the decision after WADA had refused to recognise the Russian Anti-Doping Agency as being compliant at its meeting in Seoul last month.
“RusAF regrets the IAAF’s decision,” Shlyakhtin told Russia’s official news agency TASS.
“Now, our athletes will apply for participation in international competitions of the forthcoming season.”
A total of 19 Russians competed as Authorised Neutral Athletes at this year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
They won a total of six medals, including one gold, and would have placed ninth overall, above Germany.
Mariya Lasitskene, winner of the women’s high jump, was shortlisted for the IAAF Athlete of the Year award.
It is unlikely that Russia’s ban will be lifted before the World Indoor Championships as the next IAAF Council meeting is not due to take place until after the event in Birmingham on March 2 to 4.
Shlyakhtin appears resigned to the fact that Russian athletes will again have to compete under a neutral flag.
“The process will be the same as last (sic) year,” he told TASS.
“Athletes whose applications are okayed by the IAAF will be able to compete next season as neutrals.
“On our part, we will continue to work to do our best to see to it that Russian track and field athletics is associated only with clean and honest athletes.
“Naturally, we are waiting for information about further steps we must take to have a clear understanding of a road map we are to be guided in the immediate future.”