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Russian runner Korobkina decides against IAAF competitions under neutral flag

February 21, 15:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Russia’s middle-distance runner Yelena Korobkina said on Tuesday she would decline an opportunity of competing in international events under a neutral flag instead of her national flag of Russia.

In early January, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) issued criteria, which Russian track and field athletes should meet in order to file applications for participating in international competitions as neutral athletes. All applications must be submitted with the IAAF via ARAF (All-Russia Athletics Federation).

"In case I am granted an individual permission, I will not go to Belgrade for the European Championship,"Korobkina, the gold medalist of the 2015 European Indoor Championships in Prague, told journalists.

In early February, Korobkina submitted with the IAAF an individual application requesting a permission to compete in the international track and field competitions under a neutral flag.

"I have no plans whatsoever of competing under a neutral flag," the 26-year-old athlete said. "The World and European Championship are the competitions for the countries and I want to compete for Russia only."

"I will skip the World Championship as well if the Russian national team is not officially represented there, but I hope for the better," Korobkina added.

As of today, a total of 44 Russian national track and field athletes submitted their requests with the IAAF asking for permissions to compete in international competitions in the status of neutral athletes. None of the permissions were issued from the IAAF as of yet.

In 2015, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to the activities of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (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 ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement to restore its membership in the global federation.

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

Later, the IAAF anti-doping agency turned down Russian field and track athletes’ individual applications, except the one filed by three-time European champion Daria Klishina.

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