World Athletics approves applications for 18 Russian athletes to compete as neutrals – but not at the World Championships

Russian athletes have been barred from taking part at the forthcoming World Athletics Championships in Oregon, despite World Athletics approving applications of 18 Russian sports stars to compete under a neutral flag. 

World Athletics announced that Russians will be unable to compete at the event which runs from July 15 to 24 due to what they say is a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”  – and added that the newly-approved neutral athletes will also be banned from the event.

The decision falls in line with a previous declaration from World Athletics that athletes from both Russia and Belarus be indefinitely suspended from events due to the military operation conducted by Russia in Ukraine which began in late February.

The ban, which was announced by World Athletics on March 1, ruled Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in that month’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

Prior to this, Russian athletes had been permitted to compete as Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA) while the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) served a suspension amid allegations of doping networks operating within the country. This was first introduced in 2015.

73 Russian athletes have so far been confirmed as Authorised Neutral Athletes so far this year, with World Athletics announcing a further 18 this week.

Among the latest additions are pole vaulters pole vaulters Dmitrii Kachanov and Viktor Pintusov, with the full list published on World Athletics’ official website.

“In approving these 18 applications, the Doping Review Board noted that, according to World Athletics’ decision of 1 March 2022, all athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia were excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,”  World Athletics said in a statement.

“Furthermore, the Wanda Diamond League subsequently took the decision to exclude Russian athletes from competing in its meetings.

“In addition, the Doping Review Board understands that individual organisers of the Continental Tour are not inviting Russian athletes to their meetings.

“ANA athletes remain eligible to compete in other international competitions to the extent that such competitions are open to athletes from Russia.” 

Russia has faced a wide range of sporting sanctions from various federations in recent months, including having its hosting rights for the 2022 Champions League Final removed as well as the Russian national team effectively being barred from this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Tennis chiefs at Wimbledon also refused to allow players from Russia or Belarus to take part at this year’s Grand Slam event in London. 

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