Opening Asia for Russia

Russian athletes were allowed to compete at the Tokyo 2020 games

19.03.2021 146 просмотров

Up to plus ten: Russian athletes got a chance to go to Olympic Games.


The International Association of Athletics Federations (World Athletics) has decided to allow Russian athletes to participate in the Olympics, resuming the procedure for issuing neutral statuses to athletes. In total, ten athletes from Russia can go to Tokyo.


On March 18, the board meeting of World Athletics took place. "The Anti-Doping Panel is now accepting ANA applications immediately," Rune Andersen, head of the World Athletics task force, said at a press conference. “ The program for issuing a neutral status will depend on how the All-Russian Athletics Federation will implement the key points of the recovery plan.”


In early December 2019, the World Athletics Board suspended the issuance of neutral status to Russian athletes until it received a strategic plan for exiting the crisis from ARAF. Work on it was carried out for about six months, on March 1, the World Athletics Council approved the received document.


“In my report to the council, I confirmed that the recovery plan has begun to be implemented,” Andersen said. — This plan is just the beginning, the work will not end until all items are implemented. The President (Sebastian Coe - TASS note) urged to closely monitor the implementation of the plan and immediately signal if problems arise.


“Will they be able to compete under the Russian flag? Until they don have such a right. Whether or not this item is changed depends solely on the advice of World Athletics. The granting of ANA status will proceed as quickly and carefully as possible,” he concluded.


The situation is still difficult


The last time Russian athletes participated in foreign competitions under the flag of their country in the fall of 2019 at the Military World Games in Wuhan, China. In 2020, not a single Russian athlete was allowed to participate in international competitions.


“I won't lie, I expected that the international federation would decide to resume issuing neutral statuses. But still all of us until the last were in great tension. And this is also quite understandable, because Russian athletics continues to be in a very difficult situation,  - said Irina Privalova, Acting President of the VFLA, to TASS.


“Now I would like to express my gratitude to the World Athletics working group, our international experts and all the employees of our federation who have been working without raising their heads over the last months. They managed to write a roadmap, which was appreciated by our colleagues, who today provided an opportunity for Russian athletes to compete again at international competitions. I am also grateful for the support of the Russian Ministry of Sports and our Olympic Committee,  , added the TASS interlocutor.


Tough Conditions


World Athletics on Thursday also announced , which may stop issuing a neutral status to Russian athletes or cancel previously issued permits if one of the two conditions is violated.


“The Board may remove the provisions regarding neutral athletes at any time if the working group reports that adequate progress is not being made in the implementation of key performance indicators, set forth in the recovery plan,  says the document of the international federation.


"Or if any of ten athletes designated to compete as ANAs in the Olympic Games and other competitions commit an anti-doping rule violation" , — noted in it.


Margarita Pakhnotskaya, an independent expert of World Athletics, urged not to stop at what has been achieved and continue to work on the implementation of the strategic plan for the restoration of the ARAF approved by the international federation.


“Despite the that has already been done, all the main work lies ahead for the federation. Yes, a very important decision was made today, in no case can we calm down. The full restoration of the ARAF in international law will be possible only if the adopted strategic plan is fully implemented,” said Pakhnotskaya.


The Council of World Athletics before considered the issue of issuing a neutral status to Russian athletes in early December last year. Then it was decided to return to this topic after the All-Russian Athletics Federation provides a strategic plan for overcoming the crisis.


Exit and break


< p> Due to the lack of neutral status, Russian athletes have been deprived of the opportunity to compete at foreign competitions since January 2020. This year they were forced to miss the main start of the winter season - the European Indoor Championships, which was held in Polish Torun.


“Now I am overwhelmed with joyful emotions that are difficult to express in words. We have been waiting for a very long time for the moment when we will be allowed to compete at international competitions, we were like hungry animals kept in a cage. And when they are finally released then they immediately rush to look for prey. I now am like the beast that, having gained freedom, intends to tear everyone, - Mikhail Akimenko, silver medalist of the 2019 World Championship in high jump, told TASS.


“I haven didn discuss with my coach where I would play this summer season. First, you need to resolve all issues with obtaining a neutral status, and and then plan something. Now I is at a training camp in Kislovodsk, everything is fine with me, preparations for the Olympics are in full swing,  added the athlete.


An important step on the path to full return of membership


The Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation Oleg Matytsin considers the decision of the international federation an important step towards the full return of the membership of the All-Russian Athletics Federation in World Athletics.


“I am sure that the ARAF will continue to follow the main course  — the formation of a culture of zero tolerance for doping in Russian athletics. Then we all together will be able to achieve our key goal for Russia to fully return to the world athletics family, and our athletes to be able to perform at international competitions without restrictions,  said the head of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation.


“Obviously, there is still a lot to be done to bring the ARAF back into the  international athletics community as implementing the roadmap and recovery plan, but the dynamics at the moment it is positive, which gives reason for a certain optimism,” says Stanislav Pozdnyakov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).


He stressed that the absolute priority of the ROC and ARAF is to consistently defend the interests of athletes, protect their rights. “So we are really looking forward to our athletes in the team of the Russian Olympic Committee at the Games in Tokyo,  , concluded Pozdnyakov. The Olympics in the capital of Japan will be held from 23 July to 8 August.

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