But athletes remain suspended: Athletics lifts doping ban against Russians

Athletes remain banned
Athletics lifts doping ban against Russians

So far, Russian and Belarusian track and field athletes have been banned for two reasons: the attack on Ukraine and state-sponsored doping. The world association is now repealing the latter. However, because of the war, athletes are still not allowed to compete.

The doping ban was lifted after 2677 days, but Russian athletes remain internationally banned: Because of the war against Ukraine, the world athletics association World Athletics (WA) is refusing Russia to return to the big stage. WA President Sebastian Coe is also in opposition to IOC President Thomas Bach. “Russia and Belarus will remain banned from competitions for the foreseeable future due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Coe said after the eagerly awaited world association council meeting.

While individual international professional associations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are working on allowing Russians and Belarusians to be internationally admitted again in the foreseeable future and subject to certain requirements being met as “neutral athletes” – and thus also making it possible to start the 2024 Olympics in Paris – they are staying Coe and his 25 fellow councilors hard. The core Olympic sport par excellence refuses to follow the IOC in the hotly debated issue.

Furthermore 35 “special conditions”

Jürgen Kessing should also be happy about that, the President of the German Athletics Association (DLV) recently emphasized: “My personal opinion is: As long as only a bullet or a rocket is fired into the Ukraine, I don’t want to be at one with representatives from Russia and Belarus sit at the table or do sports with them.” A week ago, the European Athletics Federation also spoke out clearly against Russia’s return to athletics.

But Bach is planning Russia’s comeback – at least under certain conditions. Neither the UN nor the Olympic charter allow athletes to be discriminated against because of their origin, Bach stressed again on Wednesday in Essen. The 69-year-old warned of the “disintegration of the international sports system”, referring to the alleged global majority for reintegration with a view to the 2024 games in Paris.

Russia’s track and field athletes have been banned internationally since November 2015 because of the doping scandal, but WA granted individual athletes the status of neutral athletes under certain conditions – including for the Olympics in Tokyo. This trial was suspended because of the attack on Ukraine. In order for the former athletics superpower to be reinstated in the doping issue, the RUSAF had to meet a number of strict conditions, including the introduction of a zero-tolerance culture, an effective anti-doping structure and penalties. After more than seven years, the task force under the chairmanship of Rune Andersen now sees this as fulfilled.

However, over the next three years, the RUSAF must continue to comply with 35 “special conditions” designed to ensure that anti-doping reforms in Russia remain in place and continue to function effectively. “It was a mammoth project,” Coe said of the doping issue, but the Russian federation is now on the right track. Very different from President Vladimir Putin. “The death and destruction we have witnessed in Ukraine over the past year, including the death of 185 athletes, has only increased my resolve on this matter,” said Coe. And so Russian track and field athletes remain banned.

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