Athletics: Russian athletes marked

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe addresses a press conference following a two-day IAAF council meeting on Dec 1, 2016 in Monaco.
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe addresses a press conference following a two-day IAAF council meeting on Dec 1, 2016 in Monaco. PHOTO: AFP

They can compete as neutrals only if IAAF clears them of any doping involvement

MONACO • The world athletics body said on Tuesday that it has been sent the names of 200 Russians by international doping investigators who will be checked if they apply to compete as neutral competitors this year.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said that it has been given the names by investigators working for Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who has alleged there was a "state-sponsored" doping system in Russia.

As the list of names emerged, IAAF president Sebastian Coe decried a system which he said had "let down" Russian athletes.

Russia has been suspended from international competition since 2015 and the IAAF said that it had sent new criteria to the Russian federation for athletes to take part in international competitions as neutrals.

Participating as neutrals may be the only way for Russians to take part in August's World Championships in London.

"One of the criteria requires athletes to show they are not directly implicated in any way (knowingly or unknowingly) by their national federation's (Rusaf's) failure to put in place adequate systems to protect and promote clean athletes," said an IAAF statement.

"The IAAF has been forwarded around 200 names of Russian athletes by the McLaren investigation team and it will assess the evidence and intelligence from the McLaren report and elsewhere in respect of any athlete who applies for neutral athlete status under the guidelines," it added.

Other criteria will include "whether any coach, doctor or other support person with whom the applicant has worked has ever been implicated in the commission of any anti-doping rule violation."

Athletics authorities will also look at how many doping samples have been given by the athlete and the circumstances in which they were given.

Coe had harsh words for those who had pulled the strings in the Russian system.

"Russian athletes have been let down by a system that should have protected them and celebrated achievements - not one that created doubt and expulsion from competition," he said.

"We continue to find ways to create parallel and credible systems of independent testing of Russian athletes so they have alternative avenues to get back in to competition while we continue to work with Rusaf on reinstatement," Coe added.

More than 110 Russians were barred from taking part in the Rio Olympics last August because of the doping storm.

In his latest report released last month, McLaren said that 1,000 Russians were involved in the doping system organised by the Russian sports ministry.

The Russian government has denied any involvement in doping.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Russian athletes marked'. Print Edition | Subscribe