LONDON • Russia's athletics federation still has a long road to navigate if it is to overturn its ban, after the head of the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) task force reported on Monday that several criteria for reinstatement remained unmet.
Nineteen Russians will compete as neutrals at the World Athletics Championships, which begin in London on Friday, but the rest, just as they did for last year's Rio Olympics, will be watching from home as their federation remains suspended.
"Our impression is that they really want to meet all the criteria, they have shown huge progress since November 2015, but there are still issues to be resolved," said Rune Andersen, the task force head, following his presentation to the IAAF Council.
"The main issue is that no meaningful (drugs) testing is being conducted. They have started, but where they used to do 19,000 a year, it's now just a few thousand and Rusada (Russia's anti-doping agency) remains not code-compliant."
There was also an issue with a lack of acceptance of the McLaren report which exposed the country's state-sponsored doping and led to the ban.
The earliest possible return for Russia was November, but that looks extremely unlikely in light of the task force's concerns.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the world body's system of clearing individual Russian athletes to compete was working.
"We find the clean athletes and separate them from the tainted system," he said.
"Ultimately we can then be sure that they are not putting at risk the efforts those clean athletes have devoted maybe half their lives to."