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

08 February 2017

A total of 35 Russian athletes have applied to compete in worldwide events in 2017, the global Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said Monday.

Russian Federation will be banned from the World Athletics Championships in London in August after the sport's leaders decided that the country's exclusion from global competition will remain beyond the summer due to state- organised doping.

As IAAF President, Lord Coe imposed a blanket ban on Russian athletes at Rio 2016, the International Olympic Committee made a decision to allow individual sports to decide, with some more lenient than others.

The first allows athletes under age 15 to compete in global competitions as "neutral athletes", meaning they would not represent the Russian state.

Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of the IAAF Taskforce, delivered its latest report on the reinstatement of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).

RusAF still must meet other criteria as outlined by the IAAF taskforce before it will recommend reinstatement.

Rune Anderson, who chairs the taskforce, set up to oversee Russia's reintegration into worldwide athletics, told reporters that he did not expect the country to be re-admitted before November, because "there have been some negative developments since the council's meeting in December". Additionally, as samples from Sochi and other past worldwide sporting events were re-tested, more athletes than previously thought were revealed to have cheated to gain an edge on the competition.

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Since February 2016, testing in Russia has been overseen by the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency because its Russian counterpart was banned from handling samples due to corruption claims. "Clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system".

However, Russian track and field athletes will still have the chance to compete in global competitions, as Anderson noted that many Russian athletes had applied to compete as neutral ones. The IAAF also demanded an official Russian response to McLaren's findings from the sports ministry and the FSB, Russia's federal security service.

"The rules do not provide protection necessary for individual athletes, they are open to abuse".

Sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS news agency that if any Russian athletes qualify as neutrals then Moscow would guarantee funding. Kenya-born Ruth Jebet won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics while running for Bahrain, which also won marathon silver through Kenya-born Eunice Kirwa.

The new ban is a huge blow to the country, which has been plagued by doping scandals in the past two years.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said a working group would be set up to agree new rules by the end of the year. Instead, the IAAF will "assess the strategic goals for growing the sport in relation to each IAAF competition, targeting cities from countries and regions which will best assist the delivery of those aims".

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