Athletics: Russia’s ban extends to 2017

Russian athletics Federation will remain banned from international athletics till 2017 after the IAAF voted to prolong the ban on the country. The state-sponsored doping review is scheduled for February.

This extension of the ban may include the August world championships.

The IAAF Council, under the presidency of Sebastian Coe on Thursday ruled to uphold the suspension despite Russian President Vladimir Putin having recently approved a law criminalising doping in sports.

This came to light after a Task Force monitoring the nation’s anti-doping programme refused on Thursday to put any dates on a “road map” for a return.

It would be recalled that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) imposed its initial ban on Russia in November 2015 and has twice extended it, in March and June, on the grounds that the criteria set for the track and field powerhouses to be re-included had not been met.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the Council felt “comforted’’ the changes had come about as a result of the decision to ban the Russians.

But he said he recognised that athletics still had work to do to regain the trust of the public.

“This is a pretty important week in the history of our sport,” said Coe who will present a series of radical governance reforms to a special Congress meeting on Saturday.

“I do not want this sport to return to the grotesque stories that even over the last few days we’ve been waking up to,” he added, in reference to recent allegations of more corruption in the organisation under its previous leadership.

The Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF) was banned in November 2015 after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) probe exposed state-sponsored doping on a massive scale.

The suspension was upheld earlier this year, ruling almost all Russian track and field athletes out of the Rio Olympics.

On Thursday, Andersen indicated there was a chink of light for the country, one of the super-powers of athletics.

“RUSAF has made further progress since June, including anti-doping education modules and securing the co-operation of the Russian criminal authorities and parliament in criminalising the supply of doping products,” he told a news conference.

“But one of the key remaining issues is how to demonstrate that the IAAF and RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping) will be able to carry out testing without interference, which is a key part of their reinstatement.

“The Task Force will go to Moscow in January to assess the response to part two of the McLaren report on Dec. 9 and to monitor progress.”

On Friday, the IAAF will announce the winners of the male and female athlete of the year awards while Saturday’s Congress is to discuss and almost certainly approve Coe’s radical shake-up of the organisation.



Aisha JM