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Allow Russian athletes at Olympics, pleads Isinbayeva

Allow Russian athletes at Olympics, pleads Isinbayeva

DPA
Moscow
Russian athletes should be allowed to compete at next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo in the sport of athletics, Russian star pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva said in a statement at the weekend.
The Russian athletics federation has been suspended since 2015 by the ruling body World Athletics (formerly IAAF) over wide-ranging doping practices.
Russians are allowed to apply to compete as neutral athletes but World Athletics has threatened to end this practice if Russia don’t pay half of a $10-million fine by Wednesday (July 1) in connection with a doping rules related case around high jumper Danil Lysenko and Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) officials.
In an open letter to World Athletics and the International Olympic Committee, the retired world record holder and two-time Olympic gold medallist Isinbayeva said such a collective sanction must not be applied because it was an “unacceptable and excessive” punishment.
“Depriving us of the opportunity to perform at competitions is a gross violation of the sporting principle and the rights of pure athletes,” she said.
“We believe that Russian athletes should be able to obtain a neutral status and perform at international competitions, regardless of the situation with the payment of a fine to World Athletics.”
Isinbayeva also said: “We cannot allow a repeat of the scenario of 2016, when we were denied participation in the Olympic games in Rio, for mistakes made by a certain group of irresponsible individuals.” At those Games in Brazil, long-jumper Darya Klishina was the only Russian allowed to compete in athletics; Russian athletes also barred from competing in other sports.
Isinbayeva said RUSAF has “completely changed” and is “actively working to reform Russian athletics.” Like at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games, Russian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will not be allowed to compete under their flag because of a four-year ban to compete as a nation, imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency over tampering with Moscow lab data. Russia is appealing this ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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