IAAF green light for three Russian athletes

Pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivkova and hammer thrower Aleksei Sokirskii all met the “exceptional eligibility criteria” to compete in international competition as neutral athletes.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: “The application process to compete internationally as neutral athletes is about our desire to support the hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes including Russian athletes who have been failed by their national system.   -  AP

The IAAF has granted permission to three Russian athletes to compete internationally under a neutral flag.

Pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivkova and hammer thrower Aleksei Sokirskii all met the “exceptional eligibility criteria” to compete in international competition as neutral athletes, the IAAF said on Thursday, on the same day as the entry deadline for the March 3-5 European Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

The trio join long jumper Darya Klishina and doping whistle-blower and former drugs cheat Yuliya Stepanova, who were previously declared eligible to compete.

The Russian athletics federation (RusAF) remains suspended from competition because of widespread State-sponsored doping, but individual athletes can compete as neutrals if they are proved to be drug-free.

“Their participation as neutral athletes in international competition is still subject to acceptance by the individual athlete and the organiser of the competition in question, in accordance with the rules of that competition,” the IAAF added in a statement.

The IAAF has received a total of 48 applications from Russian athletes, 28 of which have been endorsed by RusAF. Six applications have also been declined whilst the remaining applications, “many for competitions later in the year, are currently under review”, it added.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: “The application process to compete internationally as neutral athletes is about our desire to support the hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes including Russian athletes who have been failed by their national system.

“While prioritising applications based upon the entry deadlines of the competitions concerned, the primary responsibility of the Doping Review Board must always be to safeguard the integrity of competition.”