‘I’ll win my third gold under Russian flag at Rio Games’ – Isinbayeva to RT

Two-time Olympic pole vault champ Yelena Isinbayeva told RT fresh comments by the IOC president boosted her confidence that she and other ‘clean’ athletes will be able to win the legal battle against the IAAF ban and compete in Rio under the Russian flag.

Isinbayeva said that she felt “a bit of a joy” when she heard the news from the press conference of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Lausanne earlier on Tuesday.

While the IOC boss supported the ban imposed on Russian track and field team by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after a doping scandal, Bach stressed that the federation should individually evaluate the cases of “clean” Russian athletes so that they’ll be able to compete in Rio Olympics in August. 

However, it seems likely that the athletes will have to go to court to make the IAAF change its ruling.

“Most of all that made me happy was that the athletes who are clean and will satisfy the commission will be allowed to compete in Rio under the Russian flag. I’m very, very happy about that,” Isinbayeva said.

The legendary pole vaulter expressed hope that she will “win the right to compete at the Olympics and make a dream of becoming a three-time Olympic champion a reality.”

Isinbayeva said she doesn’t share concerns that, with less than two months remaining before the Games, Russian athletes won’t be able to mount a legal challenge in time to compete in Rio.

READ MORE: Isinbayeva: IAAF decision discrimination on national grounds, violates human rights

“I totally rule out the possibility that I won’t be able to get it done in time. I must do it on time. I have everything it takes to be able to compete in Rio. I have fulfilled the Olympic norms. I submitted my doping tests. I never had problems with doping in the past. And I see no reason for me to even worry about my participation in the Rio Games,” she stressed.

“The question now is how soon the commission will accept my claim and satisfy it,” the high-flying athlete added.

The women’s pole vault world record holder, with a mark of 5.06 meters, said that Russian sporting officials told her “because it’s the Olympics there’s a chance for the cases [of Russian athletes] to be viewed in accordance with a sped up procedure, taking just 24 hours.” 

Following the IOC announcement, there’s currently no reason for her to fulfill her plans of appealing to the Human Rights Court, but “if the commission turns down my claim I will go there,” Isinbayeva said.

She again blasted the IAAF ruling to ban the entire Russian track and field team – not discriminating between those caught using doping and clean athletes – from competing as “outright discrimination.”

“I believe the IAAF decision to be unfair and unjustified for ‘clean’ Russian athletes, with crystal clear reputations, who proved it throughout their careers,” she said.

“IAAF President Sebastian Coe said that ‘clean’ athletes might have an opportunity to compete under a neutral, white flag, but not the Russian flag. I had this question: ‘How come the same athlete is “clean” under a blank and guilty under the Russian flag?’” she wondered.

Isinbayeva concluded by saying that she had just won the Russian pole vault championship in Cheboksary, clearing the bar at 4.90 meters.

“That’s the best result of the season. I’m the global leader in the sport right now. And there’s no reason for me to miss out on the Olympics,” the 34-year-old stressed.

READ MORE: Russian athletes banned from Rio 2016 Olympics as IAAF upholds suspension

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) first made allegations against Russia in November 2015, accusing the country’s athletics and anti-doping bodies of massively breaching anti-doping rules.

After that IAAF suspended all Russian track and field athletes from competition and ordered the Russian Athletics Federation and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to rectify the violations uncovered during an international probe to be able to compete again.

Last week, the track and field governing body ruled that the disqualification of the Russia won’t be lifted, but saying the clean athletes would be able to compete in Rio under a neutral, white flag.

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