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World Champion Lasitskene says likely to file lawsuit against Russian athletics body RusAF

She promised that in case a court refuses to accept my lawsuit against RusAF in the capacity of a public organization, she will start filing lawsuits against particular people

MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. Russia’s three-time World Champion in high jump Maria Lasitskene told journalists on Wednesday she was likely to file a lawsuit against the former and current management of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF).

Former RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin submitted a letter of resignation on November 23, 2019 in view of accusations against him and three more RusAF officials for their alleged interference into an investigation of a case involving Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko. Yulia Tarasenko was appointed the acting president of RusAF.

"I am considering an option of filing a lawsuit against RusAF," Lasitskene said. "In case a court refuses to accept my lawsuit against RusAF in the capacity of a public organization I will start filing lawsuits against particular people, namely those, who were officially found guilty in the case with a fake medical certificate of [Russian high jumper Danil] Lysenko and the current administration of the federation."

"Their actions have been detrimental and are resulting in my deprivations in moral, reputational and financial aspects," she continued. "According to my preliminary estimations, it should be a multi-million lawsuit in case I completely miss this winter season."

Lasitskene also said she was expecting explanations from Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), on the organization’s failure to implement an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had tasked ROC with the reinstatement of RusAF’s membership by December 2, 2019.

"I am surprised that the Russian sports authorities pretended that no questions and letters from Russian track and field athletes were ever delivered to them," she said. "This is a very odd support of athletes, which everyone is talking about. Questions still remain, including to the head of the Russian Olympic Committee."

"As far as I remember, last spring the Russian president ordered ROC that RusAF must be reinstated with World Athletics [previously known as the International Athletics Federation or IAAF] by December 2," Lasitskene said. "This presidential order was not implemented and by the end of January we haven’t heard anything about what was done and why everything failed."

The World Athletics Council announced on November 22, 2019 its decision to suspend RusAF’s reinstatement process based on charges brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

According to World Athletics, the AIU charged RusAF on November 21, 2019 "with obstructing an investigation and provisionally suspended several senior federation officials for tampering and complicity."

World Athletics suspended RusAF’s membership in November 2015, following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and formed a special mission on the issue. The Taskforce Group, led by Norwegian expert Rune Andersen, was set up to oversee Russia’s implementation of requirements for RusAF’s membership reinstatement with World Athletics, which was previously known at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The suspension of Russia’s governing athletics body has been ruled to remain in force 12 times since its introduction in 2015 with the most recent decision made on September 23, before the start of the 2019 World Championships in Qatar’s Doha on September 27-October 6.

World Athletics allowed clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF is reinstated. The ANA status prohibits Russian athletes from participating in all international track and field tournaments under the national flag.

Last September, Lasitskene won gold in high jump at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Qatar’s Doha becoming the first-ever female athlete to win three world championships in high jump (2015, 2017, 2019).

Three more female athletes won the world championships in high jump twice and they are South Africa’s Hestrie Cloete (2001, 2003), Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic (2007, 2009) and Bulgaria’s Stefka Kostadinova (1987, 1995), who also holds the high jump world record of 2 meters and nine centimeters.

In October, Lasitskene was named by the European Athletic Association (EAA) as the 2019 Women’s European Athlete of the Year.