Athletics

Russian athletes' ban extended to August's world meet

Russia will miss August's World Athletics Championships in London after their doping ban was extended yesterday morning (Singapore time), world governing body president Sebastian Coe confirmed.

Coe said Russia, whose 15-month ban from athletics was lengthened at the IAAF's Council meeting in Cap d'Ail, near Monaco, could not be reintegrated into the sport before November.

Coe, a double Olympic 1500m champion, was speaking after the IAAF Council approved the Taskforce's recommendation.

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Russia has been barred from international competitions since November 2015, after a report alleging that state-sponsored doping was rife in the country.

The ban had already been extended in March and then June last year, preventing Russia's athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics.

The Taskforce, which was set up to oversee Russia's reintegration into international athletics, produced a detailed timeline with recommendations.

But, while "acknowledging several positive developments" at recent meetings in Moscow with RusAF, the Russian Athletics Federation, and new Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, the Taskforce also "pointed to some negative developments".

These include "unhelpful public comments by some Russian sporting officials".

The Taskforce said that RusAF "continues to face practical and legal difficulties in enforcing provisional doping bans".

There also continues to be very limited testing of Russian track and field athletes at the national level as well as troubling incidents when testing is taking place.

Russia yesterday admitted to widespread doping violations by its athletes and coaches, but said it is cleaning up its act.

"Athletes broke rules and many coaches don't understand how to work without doping," Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said.

"It's time for them to retire."

Coe, meanwhile, reiterated the IAAF's commitment to giving clean Russian athletes the possibility to compete as neutrals, provided they are not tainted by Russia's doping system.

Thirty-five Russian athletes have applied to compete as neutrals in international competitions this year. - WIRE SERVICES

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