IAAF clears 16 Russian athletes

Moscow: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has approved applications of 16 Russian athletes for participation in international competitions under the neutral flag.

“The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 16 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes under competition Rule 22.1A(b) while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended,” Sputnik news agency quoted the IAAF as saying in a statement on Sunday.

Among the approved athletes are Viktor Butenko (men’s discus throw), Timofey Chalyy (men’s 400m hurdles), Danil Danilov (men’s hammer throw), Alexey Fedorov (men’a triple jump) and other sportsmen taking part in such disciplines as sprints, high jump, race walks, decathlon and shot put.

The IAAF had imposed a blanket ban on the Russian athletics team in the run up to the 2016 Rio Olympics when the Russian doping scandal escalated, inflamed by the release of the first part of a report by an independent commission of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) headed by Richard McLaren.

The report had accused Russia of running a state-wide doping program. Russian sports officials had rejected accusations but promised to look further into doping abuse in national sports.

A total of 25 Russian athletes had been approved earlier for competing under the neutral banner in the international competitions with the latest order being issued for Klavdiia Afanaseva (women’s race walk) on July 3, according to the IAAF.