Stepanova cleared to take her marks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

RUS­SIAN dop­ing whistle­blower Yu­lia Stepanova’s ap­pli­ca­tion to com­pete as an in­di­vid­ual ath­lete has been ac­cepted, the IAAF said yes­ter­day.

The for­mer drug cheat’s rev­e­la­tions helped ex­pose the mas­sive dop­ing prob­lem in her coun­try and the mid­dle- dis­tance run­ner left Rus­sia and went into hid­ing after dis­clos­ing the is­sue.

Stepanova, could now make a come­back as soon as Wed­nes­day in the 800m after Euro­pean Ath­let­ics ap­proved her par­tic­i­pa­tion at the con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onships in Am­s­ter­dam.

The IAAF said its dop­ing re­view board unan­i­mously ac­cepted Stepanova’s ap­pli­ca­tion and that they had re­ceived more than 80 for­mal re­quests from Rus­sian ath­letes seek­ing ex­cep­tional el­i­gi­bil­ity to com­pete in an in­di­vid­ual ca­pac­ity.

“Stepanova is now el­i­gi­ble to com­pete in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions as an in­de­pen­dent neu­tral ath­lete,” the IAAF said in a state­ment.

Euro­pean Ath­let­ics re­it­er­ated the IAAF’s views and said it recog­nised Stepanova’s “ex­cep­tional con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of clean ath­letes” and cleared her to com­pete next week.

“If Stepanova takes her place in Am­s­ter­dam, she will com­pete un­der the Euro­pean Ath­let­ics flag and is sched­uled to com­pete in the first round of the women’s 800m on Wed­nes­day 6 July,” Euro­pean Ath­let­ics said in a state­ment.

It was still un­clear, how­ever, if the mid­dle-dis­tance run­ner would now be el­i­gi­ble to com­pete at the Rio Olympics, with the IAAF say­ing it was up to or­gan­is­ers to de­cide.

“Ms Stepanova’s par­tic­i­pa­tion as a neu­tral ath­lete in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion is still sub­ject to ac­cep­tance by the organiser of the com­pe­ti­tion in ques­tion, in ac­cor­dance with the rules of that com­pe­ti­tion,” the IAAF said.

Rus­sian track and field ath­letes are sus­pended from com­pet­ing any­where after a se­ries of re­ports, trig­gered by Stepanova’s rev­e­la­tions, painted a pic­ture of sys­tem­atic dop­ing in the coun­try and led to the launch of sev­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The IAAF has said only some Rus­sian track and field ath­letes ful­fill­ing ex­cep­tional cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing re­peated drug test­ing out­side Rus­sia, can take part in the Rio Games un­der a neu­tral flag.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, how­ever, in­sists any Rus­sian track and field ath­lete cleared to com­pete in the Games start­ing on Au­gust 5 would do so un­der the coun­try’s flag, ap­peas­ing Moscow in the run-up to the Rio Games.

More than 65 Rus­sians have since filed an ap­peal to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, say­ing they should not be pun­ished along with drug cheats.

Ear­lier this month, the IOC said while it was the in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tion that was in charge of deter­min­ing el­i­gi­bil­ity, it was the Olympic com­mit­tee of each coun­try that called up the team, over­rul­ing the IAAF over the flag is­sue. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.