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1 Jul, 2016 15:39

IAAF allows Russian former drug cheat Stepanova to take part at Rio 2016

IAAF allows Russian former drug cheat Stepanova to take part at Rio 2016

Russian athlete and WADA informant Yulia Stepanova, who was disqualified for two years by the IAAF in 2013 for doping violations, will be the first athlete to pass the "exceptional eligibility" guidelines outlined by the IAAF's Doping Review Board.

The 29-year-old 800m runner has been cleared to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

A statement from the IAAF read: "The IAAF Doping Review Board has today decided its first case of an athlete seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in International Competition as a neutral athlete under Competition Rule 22.1A.

"The Doping Review Board has unanimously accepted the application of Yuliya Stepanova under Competition Rule 22.1A (c) as someone having made a truly exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of clean athletes, fair play and the integrity and authenticity of the sport.

READ MORE: WADA to probe Russian doping allegations related to 2014 Sochi Olympics

"Ms Stepanova is now eligible to compete in International Competitions as an independent neutral athlete.

"Ms Stepanova's participation as a neutral athlete in International Competition is still subject to acceptance by the organizer of the competition in question, in accordance with the rules of that competition."

Stepanova was banned for abnormalities with her biological passport back in 2013 and subsequently moved to Germany and then to North America with her husband Vitaly, a former official in the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

Aided by German journalist Hajo Seppolt, the pair secretly taped athletes and coaches allegedly discussing doping in Russian sport.

They passed this information on to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which used it as part of a wider investigation into alleged systemic doping in Russia.

Russia's track and field team was suspended from competing in November 2015 after the publication of WADA's report, with the IAAF upholding that ban in June this year after it was revealed many of the issues are yet to be resolved.

However, athletes can make individual applications to the IAAF if they can prove that they are clean.

The governing body confirmed they have received more than 80 applications from Russian athletes aiming to compete in Rio.

Two-time Olympic pole vault gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva is amongst the athletes who have requested clearance from the IAAF, after claiming a ban would be "a violation of her human rights."