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IAAF 'frustrated' as Russian ban upheld

PTI | Monaco | Updated: 09-06-2019 22:10 IST | Created: 09-06-2019 22:08 IST
IAAF 'frustrated' as Russian ban upheld
Image Credit: Wikimedia

Monaco, June 9 (AFP) The IAAF has been left "frustrated" by Russian back-sliding on issues critical to the country's reintegration into global track and field, a top official said Sunday. Rune Andersen, head of the doping task force for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said he had recommended to the 27-strong IAAF Council, which duly followed his advice, that it uphold its ban on Russian athletes, first imposed in 2015 over mass state-sponsored doping.

Andersen said Russia had paid out more than $3.2 million (2.8m euros) for the Task Force's work and had also committed to paying any more costs, so the "cost condition has been met". He added "progress has been made on the second outstanding issue," that of retrieving data and samples from a Moscow laboratory at the heart of the scandal.

Those have been passed on to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), a watchdog founded by the IAAF to combat doping in the sport, and it will not be until they report back that they have everything they need that the Task Force will consider that issue resolved. The AIU are also investigating whether Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) officials were involved in the alleged cover up of a doping offence by high jumper Danil Lysenko.

"Reinstatement cannot be considered while that investigation remains pending," Andersen said. A Sunday Times story on June 2 alleged RUSAF officials had fabricated documents to show Lysenko, the 2017 world silver medallist, was too ill to provide his whereabouts after failing to make himself available for out-of-competition drug testing.

Russia authorities came out blazing, saying they were victims of an "information war" and questioning the timing of the story ahead of the IAAF Council meeting. - Banned coaches, doctors -

=========================== "Finally the Task Force noted recent allegations that banned coaches and banned doctors continue to work with Russian athletes," Andersen said.

"If so, that calls into question whether RUSAF is able to enforce doping bans and whether all RUSAF athletes have embraced the change to a new anti-doping culture proclaimed by RUSAF, both of which are conditions to reinstatement. "The Task Force shares the Council's frustration at progress in two areas being undermined by apparent back sliding in two other areas.

"It hopes the outstanding issues can be resolved soon." The last global event Russia appeared in was the 2015 Beijing world championships, but dozens of Russian athletes cleared by the IAAF have gone on to compete as neutrals.

While US-based long jumper Darya Klishina was the sole Russian athlete cleared to participate at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 74 Russian athletes competed as neutrals last year and 68 have been cleared since the start of 2019. The next chance Russia has of seeing the ban overturned will be at a IAAF Council meeting in Doha just days before the September 27-October 6 world championships in the Qatari capital, leaving a hypothetical window open for its reintegration almost four years on from the initial ban. AFP PDS

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