Yuri Borzakovsky, sports director of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), has expressed the hope that his organisation will be re-admitted to international competition by World Athletics at its Council meeting from November 29 to 30.
The RusAF was stripped of its membership in November 2015 amid a high-profile doping scandal in Russian athletics.
In December of the same year, a taskforce, led by the Norwegian Rune Andersen, was created by World Athletics and has been monitoring the implementation of the RusAF recovery plan ever since.
This work has continued even after World Athletics ruled on March 1 that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be banned from competition “for the foreseeable future” in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
“It is not yet clear what will happen next,” Borzakovsy, the Athens 2004 Olympic 800m champion and former RusAF head coach, told Express-Sport newspaper.
“We are talking about restoring the membership of our federation in World Athletics.
“This issue will be considered at the Council meeting at the end of the month.
“I really hope that we will return to our big Olympic family.”
Asked by insidethegames for a statement, World Athletics responded: “The chair of the Russia Taskforce, Rune Andersen, will report on the progress of the reinstatement process at the World Athletics Council meeting on November 29-30 as usual.
“The Council will discuss the recommendations in his report as usual and any decisions will be announced at the press conference after the meeting.”
It is understood, however, that while the reinstatement process may be making steady headway, a restoration of the RusAF will not be possible while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine persists.
“It’s hard for the guys, you won’t envy them here, because they can’t realise themselves on the world stage,” Borzakovsky added.
“They were allowed to compete only in a neutral status, their last big performance was in Tokyo in 2021 at the Olympic Games, before this started at the World Championships.
“Yes, in a neutral status they compete without a flag, but everyone knows perfectly well what country they are from, everyone knows that they are Russians.
“Athletes already live in these realities, it is still difficult for athletes of other sports to accept such conditions.
“In any case, you need to continue to train, compete, while inside the country, and if possible, then abroad.
“At the same time, you need to be ready to go out at any time to the international arena and show yourself.
“It will all depend on whether the membership of our federation is restored or not.”
While some Russian competitors were previously able to compete internationally as Authorised Neutral Athletes, having undergone statutory anti-doping tests, even they were precluded from international competition by World Athletics on March 1 because of the war in Ukraine.
World Athletics’ stance in is line with a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee and mirrored across most international sport.
“The world is horrified by what Russia has done, aided and abetted by Belarus,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said in March.
“World leaders sought to avoid this invasion through diplomatic means but to no avail given Russia’s unswerving intention to invade Ukraine.
“The unprecedented sanctions that are being imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries all over the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.
“Anyone who knows me will understand that imposing sanctions on athletes because of the actions of their Government goes against the grain.
“This is different as Governments, businesses and other international organisations have imposed sanctions and measures against Russia across all sectors.
“Sport has to step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace.
“We cannot and should not sit this one out.”