IAAF clears 21 Russian athletes to compete as neutrals

The athletes who have been cleared will be eligible for the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow early next month.

Yelena Sokolova (in photo) is among the 21 athletes who can now compete internationally.   -  AP

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said Thursday it had cleared 21 Russian athletes to return to international events, albeit competing under a neutral banner and not representing Russia.

Athletics' governing body banned Russia in November 2015 because of evidence of state-sponsored doping, but Russian athletes cleared by the IAAF can compete as neutrals.

“The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 21 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2019,” the IAAF said.

“The application process for athletes seeking neutral status in international competitions in 2019 opened in December 2018. The Doping Review Board is prioritising, wherever possible, applications from athletes wishing to compete in the current indoor season.”

The 21 athletes will now be eligible for the March 1-3 European Indoor Championships in Glasgow and the March 9-10 European Throwing cup in Samorin, Slovakia.

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