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All-star pole vaulter Isinbayeva to pass up watching 2016 Rio field and track competitions

July 27, 17:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"I will be undoubtedly following the developments at the Olympic Games, except for track and field competitions," Isinbayeva said in an interview with TASS
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Yelena Isinbayeva

Yelena Isinbayeva

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. Russia’s pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva told TASS on Wednesday she was anxious to see how the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil would be unfolding, but would abstain from watching track and field competitions.

"I will be undoubtedly following the developments at the Olympic Games, except for track and field competitions," Isinbayeva said in an interview with TASS.

"I will root for the entire national team since the recent antagonism has banded us all together," the two-time Olympic champion, who has been barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics by IAAF’s decision, added.

Isinbayeva has wished all Russian athletes, who are going to Rio 2016 against all the odds, a stunning Olympic performance.

"Today we are dealing with lawlessness, injustice and willfulness of certain people in world sport who do what they like," Isinbayeva, who could not hold her tears back, told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting on Wednesday. At the start of her speech, the pole vault queen covered her face with her hands in a bid to hide her emotions.

Isinbayeva wished all Russian athletes who are going to compete in Rio to do their best to show their true worth. "Let all pseudo clean foreign athletes understand that all this is a mug’s game," Isinbayeva said.

"We believe in you. I wish you good luck, success and confidence in your own abilities. Let your performance make the world shudder so that the Russian national anthem sounds constantly at sport arenas in Rio," Isinbayeva told her fellow athletes.

Isinbayeva noted that Russian track-and-field athletes had fallen victim to gross and impudent treatment. Many athletes have trained for the Olympics for years but now they are deprived of their dream and goal, which used to motivate them before. "We are paying for the mistakes of less responsible athletes, the ones who broke the rules. Today, we are bearing collective responsibility for their actions," the two-time Olympic champion said.

Isinbayeva asked Putin to protect Russian athletes from lawlessness. "We believe in you and we love you very much. Thank you for your support. We should punish everybody who has a hand in all this," Isinbayeva told Putin.

Isinbayeva, a triple world champion (2005, 2007 and 2013) having set a total of 28 world records, is currently considered the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time.

She was the first woman ever to clear the five-meter height jump having achieved the result in 2005. Her current outdoor record of 5.06 meters, set in August of 2009 in Zurich, remains unsurpassed. Her indoor world record of 5.01 meters, set in Stockholm in February 2012, remained unbeaten for over a year, when in March of 2013 US pole-vaulter, Jenn Suhr broke it with a 5.02-meter record to become the second female athlete to ever clear the five-meter mark.

The IAAF named Isinbayeva the Female Athlete of the Year in 2004, 2005 and 2008. In all, she has been champion on nine major occasions, which include champion titles at the Olympics, World Outdoor and Indoor, as well as European Outdoor and Indoor competitions.

On June 17, the IAAF Council ruled it was still too early to restore ARAF’s (All-Russia Athletics Federation) membership in the international organization subsequently extending the suspension of Russian athletes from all international tournaments, including the 2016 Olympic Games.

Late last month the IAAF announced that it had amended the organization’s regulations in order to allow field and track athletes from Russia to submit individual applications for international tournaments.

The world’s governing body of athletics, however, emphasized that Russians, admitted to competitions on an individual basis, would be unable to perform as part of the national team and would participate only under a neutral flag.

Earlier this month, IAAF’s anti-doping department rejected personal applications from all Russian athletes to participate in international competitions, including the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, except for long jumper, Darya Klishina.

Last Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) turned down an appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 national athletes filed against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), thus closing the doors on Russian field and track athletes to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

IOC President Thomas Bach announced on Sunday that Russian athletes, with the exception of field and track competitors, were allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics based on individual approval of each respective international sports federation or association.

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