IAAF clears 42 Russian athletes to compete under as neutrals

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.

Among the 42 athletes allowed by IAAF is two-time women's world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene.   -  getty images

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said Monday it had cleared 42 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 42 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2019,” the IAAF said on Monday.

“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.”

Among the athletes are two-time women's world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene, 2015 world 110 metre hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov and European pole vault silver medallist Timur Morgunov.

Russia will learn Tuesday whether it is to face fresh sanctions over December's missed deadline to allow investigators from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) access to the Moscow laboratory at the epicentre of the doping scandal.

That is the latest chapter in an affair that started with Richard McLaren's July 2016 report detailing doping in Russia from 2011 to 2015 involving more than 1,000 athletes across more than 30 sports.