IAAF rejects 51 Russian athletes’ applications for neutral status

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Moscow, July 5 (IANS) The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has rejected the applications of 51 Russian athletes since January 2018 to get the neutral status required for performing in international competitions, the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) spokeswoman Natalya Yukhareva said Thursday.

The ARAF press office reported on Wednesday that the IAAF had denied 15 athletes their admission to international competitions under the neutral status due to the insufficient time of their stay in the testing pool, reports Tass news agency.

They included Artyom Makarenko (combined events), Darya Nidbaikina (triple jump), Anastasiya Bednova (400m), Natalia Shirobokova (discus), Natalia Koloskova (3,000m hurdles), Elena Chernyayeva (100m and 200m), Nina Morozova (100m hurdles and 200m), Irina Ivanova (pole vault), Margarita Sokolova (long jump), Alexander Gripich (pole vault), Dmitry Nikitin (long jump, triple jump), Kirill Chernukhin (100m and 200m), Mikhail Filatov (400m), Natalia Puchkova (race walks) and Pavel Savin (400m).

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“According to the updated information, the IAAF has turned down the applications of 51 Russian athletes since the beginning of 2018,” Yukhareva said.

A total of 67 Russian athletes have been cleared to perform in international competitions in the neutral status (all the 2018 competitions or individual 2018 tournaments),” she said.

“For five Russian race walkers, their admission to international competitions in the neutral status has been suspended until the end of a probe into the incident with the presence of coach Viktor Chegin banned for life at a training camp,” the spokeswoman said.

In 1995-2015, Chegin was the chief race walking coach at the Olympic Training Centre in Russia’s Mordovia region.

A number of athletes he had trained were stripped of international medals, including Olympic ones. In 2016, the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA issued a life ban to Chegin over numerous doping violations committed by his trainees.

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Due to the All-Russia Athletics Federation’s currently suspended membership in the International Association of Athletics Federations, the global athletics body made a decision in late 2016 to allow Russian athletes, who meet IAAF’s required criteria, to compete in international sports events under the neutral status.

In 2015, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation into activities of the ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend the ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a string of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement to restore its membership in the global federation.

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–IANS

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