2 Olympic champs from Russia rejected for worlds, 11 cleared
MONACO (AP) — Two Olympic gold medalists from Russia were refused clearance Tuesday to compete as neutral athletes at the upcoming track world championships.
High jumper Anna Chicherova and race walker Elena Lashmanova, who have both served doping bans, were among 18 Russians rejected by the IAAF, the country’s track federation said. In a separate statement, the IAAF said it cleared 11 other Russians to compete.
The world championships start in Doha, Qatar, on Sept. 27.
Other athletes with prior doping sanctions, including 400-meter runner Antonina Krivoshapka, 800 runner Ekaterina Poistogova and former world indoor triple jump champion Ekaterina Koneva, were also rejected.
An IAAF vetting panel examined the drug-testing records of the 11 athletes that were cleared, giving them exemptions from Russia’s ban on competing internationally. They include six current national champions.
Many of the 11 have already met the performance standards to compete at the worlds, but it wasn’t immediately clear if they would all compete. High jumper Mikhail Akimenko, whose jump of 2.33 meters in July is tied for the second-best height in the world this year, is among the cleared athletes.
Russia’s track team has been barred from international events since 2015 because of widespread doping, but 130 competitors are currently approved to participate as neutral athletes. Another Russian, sprinter Igor Obraztsov, was stripped of this status in May after failing a doping test.
The IAAF could still reinstate Russia in time for the championships, but that seems unlikely after it expressed concern in June that the country was falling back on anti-doping reforms. Key issues include banned coaches continuing to work with athletes, the apparent use of forged documents to help a Russian athlete in a doping case and the sudden resignation of the country’s second-most senior track official, Andrei Silnov, in June amid an investigation into his conduct.