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Russia doping suspension lifted, but war ban keeps athletes out


The Russian athletics federation has lifted the doping ban, but will still be banned from international competitions due to a ban over the war in Ukraine.

World Athletics has voted to lift an eight-year doping ban on Russia, but the country will remain banned from international competitions due to an ongoing separate ban over the invasion of Ukraine.

The decision was announced on Thursday after a three-day meeting of the World Athletics Council in Monaco.

“The Council approved the recommendation to exclude athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from all our athletics events in the near future due to the invasion and the ongoing war in Ukraine,” said the chairman of the sports board, Sebastian Coe. distance. news conference.

Coe had previously said that Russia “would have to leave Ukraine” before a recovery could be considered.

He said on Thursday a working group would be set up to advise the council on the conditions Russia would need to meet to lift the ban.

“The unprecedented sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries around the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace,” he said.

Russia’s sports minister condemned the continued ban.

“We find these politicized restrictions unacceptable, especially in the context of (International Olympic Committee President) Thomas Bach’s recent speech against political influence in sport,” Oleg Matytsin said, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is exploring ways to allow athletes from those countries to compete as neutrals in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Bach said on Wednesday the games should stay away from politics or risk losing their unifying power.

Matytsin added: “The Olympics must remain neutral and international federations must give all the best athletes the right to participate in their sport.”

A handful of Russian athletes competed in track and field events at the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they did so under a neutral flag.

The World Athletics Council also recommended that organizers of the Diamond League and other tours take the same approach and exclude athletes and officials from both countries.

Doping ban

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) was banned in 2015 after the discovery of massive state-sponsored doping and cover-ups. Because the problem was not meaningfully addressed, the suspension remained in effect.

Rune Andersen, head of Russia’s Task Force on World Athletics, reported in November that he was pleased with the “new culture of good governance and zero tolerance for doping across the organization.”

“An independent audit team confirms that RusAF has met all of the detailed KPIs (key performance indicators) and other requirements of the recovery plan,” Andersen said Thursday.

“RusAF has accepted a detailed set of post-reassignment conditions designed to ensure there is no backlash from the significant progress made,” he said.

Coe said 35 conditions would be applied over the next three years with a review at the end of that period.

In recent years, dozens of Russian athletes have been allowed to compete neutrally if they can demonstrate a doping-free background, but are now barred from competing following the decision to uphold Ukraine’s war ban. The neutral athlete program has now ended.

Matytsin said the lifting of the 2015 ban was a “clear confirmation of the effectiveness of the anti-doping system in sport”.

“Russia has introduced a strict anti-doping system at all levels,” he said. “We continue to nurture a culture of clean sports among athletes, coaches and specialists. I am sure that World Athletics’ decision will give new impetus to the implementation of our goals to further develop athletics.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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