World Athletics on Thursday lifted the ban on the Russian track and field federation for state-sponsored doping although its athletes remain barred from competition while Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine continues.
The Russian federation was banned in 2015 after a damning World Anti-Doping Agency report identified “a deeply-rooted culture of doping”.
For the athletics superpower to return to the fold, it had to meet a series of strict conditions including establishing a culture of zero tolerance and an effective anti-doping structure.
Just a handful of Russian athletes took part in track and field at the Tokyo Olympics, which was postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of the Covid pandemic, and they did so under a neutral flag.
A lifting of sanctions over the doping issue will have a little immediate effect, however, as all Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from competition “for the foreseeable future” since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. That includes the option of competing as a neutral.