Doping whistle-blower Russian Athlete, Yuliya Stepanova has been cleared by IAAF Officials to run as a “neutral” at the Rio based Summer Games. The decision, however, must be approved by Rio 2016 Summer Games Organising Committee, comes after the ban on Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).
In a press release, the apex Athletics body has announced the decision of the IAAF Doping Review Board in their first case of an athlete seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in International Competition as a neutral athlete under Competition Rule 22.1A.
The IAAF Review Board, chaired by Robert Hersh and Sylvia Barlag and Antti Pihlakoski as members, 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. After this decision, doubts about Stepanova’s participation in International Competitions is over, though she will only be able to compete as an independent neutral athlete.
Also, as per the rules, her participation as a neutral athlete in International Competition will still require an acceptance by the organizer of the competition in question, in accordance with the rules of that competition. The apex Athletics body has immediately informed European Athletics of Stepanova’s eligibility given that the European Athletics Championships will take place in Amsterdam in less than a week (6-10 July). Other international events organizers will receive similar notification of Stepanova’s eligibility today.
The International Association of Athletics Federations has of today (1 July) received more than 80 applications from Russian athletes seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in an individual capacity under a separate provision in Competition Rule 22.1A(b), namely, on the basis that they are not tainted by RUSAF’s failure to put in place adequate anti-doping systems because they have been subject to other, fully adequate systems outside of the country for a sufficiently long period to provide a substantial assurance of integrity. The form of these further applications is being checked against the Guidelines issued by the IAAF last week and, if they are in the correct form, they too will be referred to the Doping Review Board for a decision on exceptional eligibility.