IAAF Congress votes to extend Russia ban

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London, Aug 4 (IANS) The Congress of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has voted to extend a ban imposed on Russia for state-sponsored doping.

A total of 166 members of the Congress on Thursday backed the IAAF Council’s proposal for maintaining the ban even though the world governing body’s latest taskforce report found that some corrective steps had been taken, while just 21 members voted for lifting the ban, reports Efe.

For a ban to be lifted on a sanctioned country, two-thirds of the Congress’ members must vote in favor.

The head of Russia’s athletics federation (RusAF), Dmitry Shlyakhtin, apologised to the members of the Congress for the mistakes of the past and asked that the ban be lifted.

But Rune Andersen, the chairman of the IAAF taskforce probing Russian doping, said that country still had work to do before a lifting of the ban could be justified.

The IAAF in November 2015 banned Russian athletes from competing under the country’s flag in international competitions — including the Rio Olympics — based on a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent report, which found evidence of systemic Russian doping practices and attempts to cover up failed drug tests.

On July 31, the IAAF Council unanimously voted to uphold the ban on the RusAF, although it also recognised that the federation had made progress in its bid for reinstatement.

Russian athletes who have been cleared by the IAAF still may participate in international competitions, although they must compete under a neutral flag.

–IANS

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