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Russia’s 3-time World Champ Lasitskene says chances of going to 2020 Olympics still remain

The triple world champion in high jump estimates her chances as 50/50

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. Russia’s three-time World Champion in women’s high jump Maria Lasitskene said on Friday she still hoped to participate in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Working Group on the reinstatement of the membership of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) with World Athletics held its first session on Friday in Moscow. Lasitskene is a member of the Working Group representing RusAF Athletes Commission.

"I assess my chances [of traveling to Olympics] in percentage terms as fifty-fifty," Lasitskene told journalists after the Working Group’s session.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo will be held between July 24 and August 9.

"I cannot firmly assert that I will be participating [in the Olympics], but as a member of the Working Group I saw today that the work is in progress and there is a strong desire to help athletes," she said. "There is hope and many serious people have a serious approach in their work."

World Athletics, which was previously known as the International Association of Athletics Federations or IAAF, suspended RusAF’s membership in late 2015 following a chain of doping abuse scandals in Russia’s track and field sports. 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.

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 the 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."

The provisionally suspended senior officials at that time were then-President of RusAF Dmitry Shlyakhtin and three more high-ranking people from the federation for helping to falsify documents, which Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko presented as his excuse for skipping doping tests. Shlyakhtin and three officials at the issue submitted their letters of resignation on November 23.

On January 29, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) recommended World Athletics to consider an expulsion of RusAF from the list of its members in case the Russian side failed to provide evidence in the Lysenko case. The Russian side was advised to review the case once again and to come up with answers in regard to accusations on this issue.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin signed a decree on January 31 to suspend RusAF’s state accreditation until March 1, 2020.

On February 3, the Presidium of RusAF resigned and handed over its authorities on the organization of federation’s presidential conference as well as on cooperation with international organizations to the Working Group of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). The election conference of RusAF is scheduled for February 28.

ROC Working Group

The Working Group, led by ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov, includes Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Director General Yury Ganus, RUSADA Deputy Director General Margarita Pakhnotskaya, Veronika Loginova, who is the head of the Russian Sports Ministry’s Department on the Anti-Doping Support and Interdepartmental Interaction, and Alexei Morozov, the director of the Russian Sports Ministry’s Department of Top Level Sports.

The Modern Pentathlon Federation of Russia has put on the Working Group its Executive Director and three-time Olympic medalist Eduard Zenovka and Tatiana Mironova, the federation’s presidential aide on legal issues.

The RusAF Athletes Commission has delegated to the Working Group 1988 Olympics silver medalist in men’s pole vault Radion Gataullin and three-time World Champion in women’s high jump Maria Lasitskene.