MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. Russia’s two-time world champion in high jump Maria Lasitskene said on Wednesday she was ready to take part in the 2018 European Athletics Championship in Berlin under a neutral status.
Due to the All-Russia Athletics Federation’s (ARAF) currently suspended membership in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the global athletics body made a decision in late 2016 to allow Russian athletes, who meet IAAF’s required criteria, to compete in international sports events under the neutral status.
"An issue of participation in international tournaments was very complicated for all Russian track and field athletes in the course of the last two years," Lasitskene said speaking before one of the Diamond League stages in Italy’s Rome. "I continue competing in the neutral status."
"In case there is no positive decision regarding us (by August) I will have to compete under the neutral status in Berlin as well," she said.
"All of this is undoubtedly hard, but we continue with our preparations," Lasitskene said. "I am ready to show that I am in an outstanding shape and is ready for defending my titles. Moreover, I have never been the European champion of Europe therefore everything will depend on me. We will continue practicing to gradually reach the peak of the physical shape before Berlin."
The 2018 European Athletics Championship will be held in the German capital of Berlin between August 7 and 12.
Competing last summer under a neutral flag, Lasitskene won the IAAF World Championship in London, becoming the two-time world champion. Last season Lasitskene won every tournament she took part in, including the final of the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels.
In 2015, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation into activities of the ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.
The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.
Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend the ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a string of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement to restore its membership in the global federation.