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IAAF: 2016 Rio ban for Russian track and field athletes in force

July 28, 20:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The ban includes Russia’s pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva
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MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced to TASS on Thursday that its recently passed decision on the suspension of Russian track and field athletes remained in force, including in regard to Russia’s pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva.

Two-time Olympic Champion Isinbayeva said earlier in the day she still hoped to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which kick off in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro next week, as she had sent a personal letter to IAAF and was expecting a reply from the organization by Thursday night.

"Please note the reply we sent to [Russian Sports] Minister [Vitaly] Mutko on Tuesday," IAAF said in response to a question from TASS whether Isinbayeva was cleared to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"The IAAF's eligibility rules have been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)," the statement from IAAF said. "The applications by 68 athletes for eligibility to compete in Rio were assessed carefully and on an individual basis by the IAAF Doping Review Board, and only one of them was found to meet the criteria for exceptional eligibility."

"CAS considered the appeals of the 67 athletes fully and rejected them," according to IAAF’s statement. "There are no grounds for further review."

Russia’s pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva

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.

The IAAF ban

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.

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.

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

IOC President Thomas Bach announced last Sunday that Russian athletes, with the exception of track and field 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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