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Russian track and field athletes are still most tested for doping — anti-doping watchdog

Weightlifters form the second most tested group
Sergei Dubrovsky Yegor Aleyev/TASS
Sergei Dubrovsky
© Yegor Aleyev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. Russian track and field athletes were the most tested for banned performance enhancing drugs in the first six months of this year compared to other sports, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) said in a report on Wednesday.

The report states that in the period between January and June included, a total number of 675 Russian track and field athletes underwent doping tests.

Weightlifters formed the second most tested group in Russia with 221 checks being conducted over the same period, according to the stats.

RUSADA inspectors also collected doping samples of 143 swimmers, 122 cross-country skiers and 94 biathletes.

Russian track and field athletes remain to be in a particular focus of RUSADA since the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) is still trying to reinstate its membership status with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

According to RUSADA, Russian champion in 800m running Sergei Dubrovsky is the most tested athlete for doping in the country based on the results of doping tests of the first half of the year, according to which the 24-year-old runner underwent nine doping tests procedures within the stated period. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) still has not granted Dubrovsky a neutral status that allows one to participate in international tournaments.

RusAF membership suspension with IAAF

The world’s governing body of track and field athletics suspended RusAF’s membership in late 2015 following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement in order to restore its membership in the global federation.

The IAAF, however, permitted clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status of Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF was reinstated. IAAF’s previously issued neutral-status permissions for Russian athletes expired on December 31, 2018.

On December 18, 2018, the IAAF Doping Review Board approved an updated version of the Guidance Note for Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) status applications and sent the document to the RusAF.

The RusAF started accepting neutral status applications from the country's track and field athletes on December 19, 2018. The world’s governing athletics body has already granted neutral-status permits to 118 Russian track and field athletes.

As of July 10, the IAAF turned down 58 neutral status applications from Russian track and field athletes. The RusAF has already received 325 applications from athletes requesting a neutral status, of which 317 have been sent to the IAAF.