IAAF Clears 2 Russian World Champions, 5 Others to Compete

MONACO � Two world champions are among seven Russian athletes who were approved by track and field’s governing body on Tuesday to compete internationally while their country remains banned for doping.

The IAAF so far has approved 10 Russians this year to compete as neutrals.

The new list includes 110-meter hurdler Sergei Shubenkov and high jumper Maria Kuchina. Both won gold medals at the 2015 world championships in Beijing and could now defend their titles in London in August.

Russia was banned from the track at last year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but two athletes had been approved to compete: middle-distance runner Yulia Stepanova, a key whistleblower of Russia’s doping program, and long jumper Darya Klishina, the only Russian who took part on the track in Rio.

To be approved, athletes must show an IAAF doping review panel they have been adequately tested for drugs over a lengthy period by non-Russian agencies.

However, the IAAF said the athletes are still subject to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organizers, such as the Diamond League series. The 14-meet circuit opens on May 5 in Doha, Qatar.

Shubenkov is set to be in demand as the reigning world champion, worlds bronze medalist in 2013 and two-time European champion.

Shubenkov and Kuchina, a past world and European indoor champion, were unable to compete at the world indoors in Serbia last month while their cases were under review.

There can be no time constraints on a process which has been established to safeguard the rights and aspirations of the world’s clean athletes and is about rebuilding confidence in competition,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

Kuchina is set to compete as Maria Lasitskene after getting married.

The IAAF said the other approved athletes are: high jumper Daniil Tsyplakov, who placed fifth at the 2015 worlds, pole vaulters Illia Mudrov and Olga Mullina, and race walkers Sergey Shirobokov and Yana Smerdova.

The IAAF previously cleared three Russians to compete as neutrals – pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivakova and hammer thrower Alexei Sokirsky.

The names of 17 athletes whose applications were rejected this year by the review panel have not been published, the IAAF said, adding it had received about 100 applications. Only 38 of those were endorsed by the Russian track federation, which remains suspended by the IAAF.

Source: Voice of America

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