Athletics bosses praise ‘good governance’ in Russia
The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) could be reinstated by international governing body World Athletics in March of next year, after a taskforce said the organization had made improvements to its operations.
RusAF has been suspended by World Athletics since 2015 after allegations of state-sponsored doping – something Russia has vehemently denied.
The suspension has meant Russian athletes have had to compete at major international tournaments under neutral status, while the conflict in Ukraine saw them banned entirely from the 2022 World Championships in Oregon, USA.
In a statement issued after a council meeting in Rome on Wednesday, World Athletics said its Russia Taskforce expects to make a final recommendation on the reinstatement of RusAF in March 2023 – “provided RusAF continues to make progress in reforming its culture.”
It noted, however, that the situation in Ukraine could also determine Russia’s status.
World Athletics official Rune Andersen, who is chair of the Russia Taskforce, said that RusAF has “embedded a new culture of good governance and zero tolerance for doping throughout the organization.”
Elsewhere, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is due to see a two-year ban imposed by international counterpart WADA come to an end later in December, although WADA officials recently warned that reinstatement will not be automatic.
RUSADA is currently at loggerheads with WADA regarding the case of Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva.
Russian officials have insisted the outcome of their investigation into the 16-year-old star, who tested positive for banned heart medication trimetazidine, must remain private due to the athlete’s age.
WADA officials have accused RUSADA of delays in the case, and have filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
Asked if Russia’s status with WADA would have any bearing on World Athletics and its own reinstatement of the country, Andersen replied: “We are fully aware of the fact that WADA has said even though the decision ends on December 17 this year, they will continue to look into RUSADA in order to have them reinstated at some stage.
“So it is not an automatic reinstatement. But we have had a clear indication from WADA that the operational level of RUSADA is working well,” added the Norwegian, as quoted by Inside the Games.
More broadly, Russian athletes have been suspended from competitions across a wide range of sports following a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the end of February because of the conflict in Ukraine.
Russian officials are hopeful that the ban will not prevent the nation’s athletes from competing at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.