Tokyo 2020: World Athletics approves 20 more applications from Russia to compete as neutrals

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Russia’s athletics federation (RusAF) has been suspended since 2015 after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping among track and field athletes.

“The WADA Review Board has agreed that the applications of 20 more Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2021 under Eligibility Rule 3.2 while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended,” an WA statement said, which was shared on their official Twitter handle.

“These 20 athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria for 2021, the WA statement added.

The WA Council in March approved the reinstatement of the authorised neutral athlete (ANA) scheme for clean Russian athletes after their drug-testing records have been vetted.

As of now a total of 143 Russian athletes have so far been declared eligible to compete as authorised neutral athletes in 2021. Five applications have been rejected.

There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes who may compete at international competitions in 2021 (outside of the Olympic Games and other championships), provided they have ANA status.

However, the Council agreed that for the remainder of 2021, no more than 10 Russian athletes will be granted eligibility to compete as authorised neutral athletes at any championship competition, including the Tokyo Games, World Athletics Series events and the 2021 European Under-23 Championships.

RusAF may choose which 10 athletes are able to compete from those who have been granted ANA status, but it must prioritise the selection of athletes who are in the international registered testing pool.

The participation of all athletes granted ANA status is still subject to formalities under WA rules being completed (which could, in some cases, include additional testing) and to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organisers.

(With WA Media inputs)

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