The Punch

WA approves applicatio­ns of 20 Russians as neutral athletes

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THe World Athletics Doping Review Board has agreed that the applicatio­ns of 20 Russian athletes have met the exceptiona­l eligibilit­y criteria to compete in internatio­nal competitio­n as neutral athletes in 2021 under Eligibilit­y Rule 3.2 while the Russian National Federation remains suspended.

A total of 143 Russian athletes have so far been declared eligible to compete as authorised neutral athletes in 2021. Five applicatio­ns have been rejected.

The World Athletics Council approved the reinstatem­ent of the Authorised Neutral Athlete programme for clean athletes from Russia in March 2021, following the approval of the RUSAF Reinstatem­ent Plan.

There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes who may compete at internatio­nal competitio­ns in 2021 (outside of the Olympic Games and other championsh­ips), provided they have ANA status.

However, the Council agreed that for the remainder of 2021, no more than 10 Russian athletes will be granted eligibilit­y to compete as authorised neutral athletes at any championsh­ip competitio­n, including the Tokyo Olympic Games, World Athletics Series events and the 2021 European U23 Championsh­ips.

RUSAF may choose which 10 athletes are able to compete from those who have been granted ANA status, but it must prioritise the selection of athletes who are in the Internatio­nal Registered Testing Pool.

The participat­ion of all athletes granted ANA status is still subject to formalitie­s under World Athletics Rules being completed (which could, in some cases, include additional testing) and to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organisers.

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