Russia 'regrets' IAAF doping ban vote as Lasitskene speaks out

AFP , Monday 10 Jun 2019

Mariya Lasitskene calls for corrupt officials to reform or quit (AFP)
Mariya Lasitskene calls for corrupt officials to reform or quit (AFP)

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee on Monday said he "regretted" the decision by the world athletics body to maintain the country's doping ban, while a top Russian athlete called on officials to reform or quit.

The International Association of Athletics Federations voted at the weekend for the 11th time to uphold a ban first introduced in November 2015 after evidence of mass state-sponsored doping appeared.

Russia's participation at this year's Doha world championships remains on tenterhooks.

"The decision of the IAAF raises regrets," local Olympic committee head said Stanislav Pozdnyakov told the state TASS news agency, stressing that Russia "absolutely fulfilled its obligations".

World champion high jumper Mariya Lasitskene however said that athletes are fed up with promises to reform the country's doping-tainted coaching while blaming their failures on an anti-Russian conspiracy.

"All of these people think that athletes don't see or understand anything, and their business is only to jump and keep quiet," Lasitskene wrote in an unusually exasperated Instagram post.

"I hope that people implicated in this never-ending shame spectacle find the courage to quit," she wrote. "I'm not talking about only the management, but all coaches who are convinced that you can't win without doping."

She said the new generation of Russian athletes "should grow up with a different philosophy."

The post struck a nerve and received many comments. "Right on point," wrote long jump European champion Darya Klishina -- the only Russian athlete to compete in the 2017 World Championships as a "neutral" and finish with a silver medal.

The latest report by the IAAF's Task Force, charged with investigating the scandal, noted some positive developments from the Russian side.

Those included the repayment of the 2.8 million euros ($3.2 million) it has cost the Task Force to do its work as well as access granted to the Moscow laboratory at the heart of the doping scandal between 2011-15.

But the Task Force also noted reports that Russian coaches who had been suspended for doping were continuing to train athletes.

Also worrying was a Sunday Times story on June 2 alleging that Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) officials fabricated documents to show that Danil Lysenko, the 2017 world silver high jump medallist, was too ill to provide his whereabouts after failing to make himself available for out-of-competition drug testing.

The last global event Russia appeared in was the 2015 Beijing world championships, but dozens of Russian athletes cleared by the IAAF have gone on to compete as neutrals.

The next chance Russia has of seeing the ban overturned will be at a IAAF Council meeting in Doha just days before the September 27-October 6 world championships in the Qatari capital, leaving a hypothetical window open for its reintegration almost four years on from the initial ban.

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