Russian athletics chiefs are hopeful that their global ban for doping will be lifted, sources in the country have told the Daily Mail.
World Athletics are due to discuss the prospect of removing the Russian federation’s suspension, which has stood since 2015, at a meeting of the ruling body’s council in Rome.
The Russian Athletics Federation has worked hard to get its house in order since a systemic doping regime was revealed amongst its athletes.
And, though Russian athletes will remain banned from representing the country as a result of the war on Ukraine, their ruling body could be welcomed back into the fold.
World Athletics, whose president is Seb Coe, imposed the eight-year ban after a damning investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed the scale of Russian drug-taking.
The huge, state-sponsored regime sabotaged London 2012 and, according to the investigative report, included ‘cover ups, destruction of samples [and] payment of money to conceal doping tests’.
The Russian federation was hit with further sanctions in 2020, including a $10million fine, after the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) found senior individuals had conspired to break anti-doping rules.
In a separate WADA case, its investigators found that data from a Moscow anti-doping laboratory had been tampered with. It meant the Russian anti-doping agency remained suspended, a sanction which will be reviewed next month.
Only 10 Russian athletes, meanwhile, were allowed to compete as ‘Authorised Neutral Athletes’ at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
However, the Russian federation is now confident that the corrupt individuals have been weeded out and its system is compliant with anti-doping regulations.
Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of the Russian taskforce, was due to deliver a report to the World Athletics council updating them on this progress.
The council began its two-day meeting in the Italian capital on Tuesday. They were also due to discuss the spate of doping sanctions levelled against Kenyan athletes, amid reports that their national federation could be at risk of a suspension.
However, the Kenyan government last week pledged $5million to fight doping after Brett Clothier, the head of the AIU, said increasing resources was ‘where this fight goes next’.
Coe is entering the final year of his second term as World Athletics president and will need to decide shortly whether to run for office again. He has been linked with the presidency of the International Olympic Committee, with Thomas Bach’s second term coming to an end in 2025.