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30 Jan, 2020 09:36

'A neutral flag isn't shame, shame is being stuck in a doping row': World high-jump champ Lasitskene on Russia’s sport crisis

'A neutral flag isn't shame, shame is being stuck in a doping row': World high-jump champ Lasitskene on Russia’s sport crisis

Prominent Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene has commented on the doping row surrounding sport, voicing fears that she might miss her second straight summer Olympics due to sanctions imposed on the country.

In an interview with RT, the first female athlete to win three consecutive world titles complained that she is not allowed to compete in international events even under a neutral status underlining that that the situation has worsened over the past four years.

READ MORE: ‘What did you do to protect us?’ High jump world champion Lasitskene lashes out at Russian sport bosses

I wish I needed to compete just against my opponents in jumping,” Lasitskene said.

But instead I have been fighting for my rights to compete for four years. As an athlete I have rights to take part in events, compete under the national flag and to listen to my national anthem. And in order to receive this right to perform we (athletes) need to write letters, talk to Russian athletics officials, ask questions which have been ignored for some reason.”

The 27-year-old who was not allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, due to a blanket ban imposed on the Russian athletics squad, said she will do everything in her power to be approved for next summer’s Tokyo Games, stressing that there is nothing shameful about competing under a neutral flag.

Also on rt.com ‘What happened today is a disgrace!’: High jump world champion Maria Lasitskene

It’s a shame that the situation surrounding doping has only worsened,” Lasitskene told RT.

We have problems which should have been fixed during a four-year period. Those who say that it’s shameful to compete under a neutral flag don’t even know how much power and energy an athlete dedicates to the sport he or she represents. We don’t how long careers will last and we retire before 40. I don’t have time to wait until the situation is resolved.”

At the end of last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the Russian Anti-doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant with its code for the alleged manipulation of doping data retrieved from a Moscow laboratory.

Also on rt.com ‘Ask Armstrong, Gatlin & Coleman’: Russian high jump champ Lasitskene tells USADA boss to ‘watch his language’ after calls for ban

Russia was handed a four-year ban, prohibiting it from taking part in and hosting international sporting events.

The Russian Olympic Committee and RUSADA members will try to overturn WADA’s verdict in court, claiming that the controversial ban contradicts the Olympic charter.