IAAF not ready to lift Russia's suspension from track

IAAF not ready to lift Russia's suspension from track
FILE - In this Thursday, July 28, 2016 file photo, world hurdles 110m champion Sergey Shubenkov competes during the Russian Stars 2016 track and field competitions in Moscow, Russia. Russia plans to send 19 athletes, including Sergei Shubenkov and Maria Lasitskene, to the track and field world championships in London in August 2017 despite its suspension from international competition over widespread doping. The 19, including three former world champions, have been given exemptions from Russia’s suspension after the International Association of Athletics Federations reviewed their history of drug testing. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)

By Rob Harris, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The IAAF is not ready to lift Russia's suspension from track and field competitions as the country fails to fully accept the findings of an investigation into its state-sponsored doping scheme.

A meeting of the international track and field federation's member associations in London on Thursday will be asked to maintain the ban on Russia that was imposed in 2015 after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren exposed how failed drug tests were covered up.

Rune Andersen, the IAAF's Russia taskforce chairman, wants assurances that the McLaren report's findings "have been properly acknowledged and addressed, and there will be no repetition."

The Russian athletics federation "has not yet demonstrated to the satisfaction of the taskforce that it has established a strong anti-doping culture within its sport, or that it has created an open environment that encourages whistleblowing," Andersen said in his latest report to the IAAF Council on Monday.

Andersen acknowledged in the document that Russia is making progress in cleaning up its doping culture, including "satisfactory cooperation" with French criminal authorities in an investigation, but says action is still required in key areas. A "small number" of athletics disciplinary cases that were ongoing in 2015 remain unresolved, a "few" athletes flagged in WADA's doping investigation are yet to be interviewed, and Anderson is concerned that banned coaches ar still working in the sport.

"There is a long way to go until they can conduct the testing which we consider to be meaningful," Andersen told reporters. "We are working with the Russians on the changing culture. There are some good movements now started from the athletes themselves wanting to change, but they haven't shown and demonstrated to us that this is in place."

IAAF President Sebastian Coe is leaving Andersen's taskforce to decide when Russia should be allowed back into the track and field fold.

"Although there is progress, there is still more work to be done," Coe said.

The only Russians competing at the world championships in London, which begin Friday, are those cleared to compete as neutrals after the IAAF assessed their history of drug testing.

The 19 athletes given exemptions include three former world champions, but they won't be allowed to wear national colors and the Russian anthem won't be played if they win gold.

 

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