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Which way now for Russia? IAAF maintain ban on doping-tainted nation

Saturday June 8 2019

This file photo taken on February 6, 2017 shows International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe looking on during a press conference following the 208th IAAF Council meeting in Monaco. PHOTO | FILE |

This file photo taken on February 6, 2017 shows International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe looking on during a press conference following the 208th IAAF Council meeting in Monaco. PHOTO | FILE |  AFP

AFP
By AFP
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MONACO

Russia's participation at the Doha world championships remains on tenterhooks after the IAAF voted Saturday to maintain its ban on the track and field giants over doping.

A source said the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) voted at a council meeting in Monaco for the 11th time to uphold a ban first introduced in November 2015 after evidence of mass state-sponsored doping appeared.

The latest report by the IAAF's Task Force, charged with investigating the scandal, noted some "positive developments", the source said.

Those included the repayment of the 2.8 million euros it has cost the Task Force to do its work as well as access granted to the Moscow laboratory at the heart of the doping scandal between 2011-15.

But the Task Force, the source added, was "troubled" by reports that Russian coaches who had been suspended for doping were continuing to train athletes.

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Also worrying was a Sunday Times story on June 2 alleging that Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) officials fabricated documents to show that Danil Lysenko, the 2017 world silver high jump medallist, was too ill to provide his whereabouts after failing to make himself available for out-of-competition drug testing.

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.

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