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Russian pole vault queen says ready to defend honest athletes’ interests in any post

November 17, 2015, 14:51 UTC+3
Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva was elected to the IAAF commission in late August, gaining over 700 votes
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Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva

© AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva who was recently elected to the athletes’ commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) told TASS on Tuesday she was ready to defend honest athletes’ interests in any post.

Isinbayeva was elected to the IAAF commission in late August, gaining over 700 votes. The commission members’ mandate will be effective from January 1, next year.

"First of all, we’ll defend the athletes’ interests as the term ‘commission’ implies a sort of a link between active athletes and the IAAF heads," Isinbayeva said.

"I don’t know about any specific functions so far but the main task will be to defend the athletes’ rights and to represent them, resolve particular issues, create and improve conditions for training," the pole vault queen said.

The IAAF Council said at its latest meeting on Friday that a report prepared by the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on the struggle against doping was unsatisfactory and decided by a majority of votes to suspend Russia’s membership in the international athletics association.

Experts say it is highly probable that the Russian national athletics team won’t be able to perform at the Summer Olympics in Brazil in August 2016.

"I’ll always defend honest athletes, no matter what post I hold," Isinbayeva said.

"More irresponsible athletes should themselves decide their problems and let them be punished. But why should those who have done nothing wrong be punished, even if there are guilty persons among their partners in the national team?" she said.

Isinbayeva plans to end her athletic career at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro that will be held on August 5-21, 2016.

Isinbayeva said at a TASS press conference on Monday that the IAAF’s decision to suspend Russian athletes from international competitions was an ‘unfair’ move towards honest athletes.

"We watched the developments in our kind of sports and the IAAF decision. My reaction was instant in Instagram - I said I was shocked. This is unfair towards honest, ‘clean’ athletes," Isinbayeva said.

"Why should athletes like I suffer from others’ mistakes? This situation has to be examined on a case-by-case basis. I’m in a good physical shape. I’m ready to fly to Portland for the Winter World Championship," Isinbayeva said.

"I would like to urge the IAAF to act objectively. I want very much to take part in athletics competitions and the Rio Olympics are a worthy end of the sports career. I hope the [Russian] Sports Ministry will take all efforts to ensure that justice triumphs," the pole vaulter said.

The ARAF sent a detailed report on its activities over the recent years to the IAAF on Thursday along with its official reaction on the report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The WADA Independent Commission was set up and began its work earlier, following a series of German documentaries on the alleged mass use of performance enhancing drugs among Russia’s field and track athletes.

In December 2014, German TV Channel ARD aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The ARD’s two-part documentary, entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case), claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in June his deep disappointment with the rise of positive doping cases registered among Russian athletes and urged to enhance the fight against the abuse of performance enhancing drugs.

On August 1 this year, ARD released another documentary "Doping - Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics." The film claimed that ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times had obtained a leaked database belonging to the International Association of Athletics Federations, which contained more than 12,000 blood tests from around 5,000 athletes in the years 2001 to 2012.

ARD further alleged that a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests but none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

The Sunday Times also alleged that Russian athletes suspected of doping abuse had won 80% of medals for their country at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

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