IAAF approves applications of Eight Russians to compete as neutral athletes

The IAAF logo (Photo Credit: iaaf.org)

World athletics governing body, the IAAF, has approved the applications of eight Russian athletes to compete as neutrals at international events, while rejecting 53, the body announced on Thursday.

Russia’s national athletics federation, RUSAF, was suspended as a result of systematic doping, meaning that most of their athletes will miss next month’s world championships in London.

However, their athletes can apply to compete in the said event as neutrals, but are expected to meet certain criteria as stated by the IAAF.

One of the IAAF criteria includes showing they are not directly implicated “in any way by their national federation’s failure to put in place adequate systems to protect and promote clean athletes”.

Consequently, the IAAF Doping Review Board agreed that those whose applications they received met these criteria required to compete as neutrals under the rules of the IAAF.

In a statement by the body, 47 applications had been approved this year, including the eight announced today, with a further 109 rejected.

“The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of eight Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes under competition Rule 22.1A(b) while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended,” the statement read.

“The participation of all these athletes as neutral athletes in international competition is still subject to formalities for eligibility under IAAF Rules being completed and subject to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organisers.

Commenting further was IAAF president, Sebastian Coe, who said the process was about giving ‘hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes.’

“From the beginning we have declared this process was about supporting the hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes including Russian athletes who have been failed by their national system,” Coe said.

“I wish to thank the Doping Review Board for their diligent work assessing these applications,” he added.

A total number of 41 Russian athletes have been cleared by the IAAF Doping Review Board since 2016, with all but two of them coming in 2017 alone.

Here is a list comprising names of the eight Russian athletes, whose applications were accepted by the IAAF Doping Review Board, composed of Robert Hersh (chair), Sylvia Barlag and Antti Pihlakoski:

Ilia Ivaniuk (high jump); Sergej Litvinov (hammer); Alena Lutkovskaia (pole vault); Danil Lysenko (high jump); Sofia Palkina (hammer); Valery Pronkin (hammer); Vladislav Saraykin (race walk); Ekaterina Sokolenko (3000m steeplechase).

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