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IAAF clears 16 Russians to compete as neutrals

Aleksandr Menkov, pictured in 2015, is among sixteen Russian athletes who will compete as neutrals © AFP/File / ADRIAN DENNIS

PARIS, France, Jul 9Sixteen Russian athletes, including 2013 world long jump champion Aleksandr Menkov, were given the green light Sunday to compete internationally as neutrals, world athletics’ governing body announced.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said its doping review board had agreed that the applications of the athletes met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes, while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended.

The athletes were named as Menkov, Viktor Butenko (discus), Timofey Chalyy (400m hurdles), Danil Danilov (hammer), Olga Eliseeva (race walks – European U20 Championships only), Alexey Fedorov (triple jump), Irina Gemeniuk (triple jump), Irina Gordeeva (high jump), Viacheslav Kolesnichenko (sprints), Aleksandr Lesnoi (shot put), Konstantin Lyadusov (shot put), Iuliia Maltseva (discus), Alena Mamina (sprints), Viktoriia Prokopenko (triple jump), Ilya Shkurenev (decathlon) and Valentin Smirnov (middle distance).

In addition, the board extended neutral athlete status for three athletes who had previously been approved to be able to compete at the European U20 Championships: Aksana Gataullina (pole vault), Polina Miller (sprints) and Yana Smerdova (race walks).

“The participation of all these athletes as neutral athletes in international competition is still subject to formalities for eligibility under IAAF Rules being completed and subject to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organisers,” IAAF said in a statement.

In total this year 39 applications have been approved, of which nine are for the forthcoming IAAF World U18 Championships.

“It is important to reiterate that this review process is about ensuring there is a level playing field in which the world’s clean athletes have confidence,” said IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

“It’s a huge task and one which cannot be rushed if we are to ensure the rights and aspirations of clean athletes are protected.”

The IAAF has received more than 150 applications from Russian athletes, some 50 of which have been endorsed by RusAF.

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A total of 25 Russian athletes (23 in 2017 and two in 2016) have previously been declared eligible to compete as neutral athletes.

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