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Isinbayeva calls on IAAF to fight doping instead of playing political games

April 16, 3:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The IAAF suspended the ARAF in November 2015, following an investigation based on assertions related to an alleged state-sponsored doping system in Russia

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MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) should start a real fight against doping in athletics instead of participating in political games, two-time Olympic pole vault champion and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Yelena Isinbayeva told Cuba’s media outlet Deporcuba.

"The IAAF has chosen a way to fight doping but it is not the most effective, the organization has been acting in a one-sided way, as it is biasedly focused on our federation [All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) - TASS]," she said. "We certainly have some doping issues but other countries have also faced incidents involving the use of banned substances. Athletes from other countries have the right to resume participation in international competitions once their disqualification period is over, while our clean athletes have been stripped of this right. If the IAAF really wants to fight doping in athletics, it should change its rules and criteria for all the athletics federations and athletes instead of participating in political games," Isinbayeva pointed out.

The IAAF suspended the ARAF in November 2015, following an investigation based on assertions related to an alleged state-sponsored doping system in Russia. The IAAF formed a Task Force, chaired by Norway's Rune Andersen, which has been working with Russia to fulfill the conditions for reinstating the ARAF. One of the conditions is to declare the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) compliant with the code of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, on November 16, the Executive Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency refused to reinstate RUSADA’s.

"The ARAF has become kind of a hostage to the current doping scandal, which left our country numb," Isinbayeva went on to say. "The ARAF cannot implement the criteria the IAAF president set for its reinstatement since it is beyond its purview. It has been linked with RUSADA, so the ARAF cannot become an IAAF member again until RUSADA is reinstated," she noted.

"It is a pity that our clean athletes, who did nothing wrong, have to compete as neutrals, while many are deprived of the opportunity to compete without any explanations offered. It’s dirty," the two-time Olympic champion said.

In December 2016, the IAAF decided that until the membership of the ARAF was restored, Russian athletes who met all the anti-doping criteria could participate in international tournaments as neutrals. Those willing to become neutrals are expected to file individual applications that must be approved by IAAF officials.

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