News 1st July 2016

IAAF green flags Yuliya Stepanova for international competition

The Doping Review Board of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) today granted Yuliya Stepanova eligibility to compete in international competitions as a neutral athlete, less than a week before the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam. However, it appears that she could be the only Russian there.

In its Guidelines to the rule amendments, the IAAF was careful to state that apart from in ‘exceptional circumstances’, the IAAF ‘will not process applications if they are submitted later than 2 weeks before the entry deadline for the International Competition for which eligibility is sought’. However, as the amended Rules were only published on 23 June and the entry deadline for the European Athletics Championships (6-10 July) was just three days later, it appears that Stepanova may be the only Russian competing.

The IAAF also revealed that since it amended its rules on 23 June, it has received over 80 applications from Russian athletes arguing that they have not been tainted by the Russian Athletics Federation’s (RusAF) failure to put adequate doping systems in place. Stepanova applied to compete as an independent athlete in March, way ahead of the rule changes. Today’s IAAF statement reveals that the 80 other applications are under Rule 22.1A(b), which was put in place on 23 June.

It is understood that many of these applications are for IAAF permission to compete as a neutral athlete at the Rio 2016 Olympics. A RusAF spokesperson told Russian state news agency Tass that Yelena Isinbayeva had filed such an appeal. The pole vaulter won gold at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics, winning bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.

RusAF said that it would appeal the IAAF’s ban on 20 June, after the IAAF decided it had not met the conditions for re-instatement three days earlier. It is understood that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is supporting the appeal.

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