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Russian Anti-Doping Agency issues accompanying 'neutral-status' letters to 62 athletes

Due to the ongoing doping probe, clean athletes from Russia are allowed to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the All-Russia Athletics Federation is reinstated

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has issued 62 accompanying letters to national track and field athletes wishing to be granted neutral-status permits by the global governing body of track and field athletics, World Athletics, RUSADA Deputy Director General Margarita Pakhnotskaya told TASS on Wednesday.

World Athletics issued on April 30 a list of regulations for all Russian athletes vying for a status of a neutral athlete. All submitted applications for the neutral-status must be accompanied by official letters from the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) and RUSADA.

"In the opening two days of June, we issued official letters to 59 athletes wishing to receive a neutral-status," Pakhnotskaya told TASS. "The total number stands now at 62 if we add up applications from May."

"Applications keep flowing in and we, on our behalf, continue with the preparations of the required documents for athletes," she added.

The international federation, 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.

World Athletics, however, 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.

World Athletics 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.

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, 2019 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. They were penalized for allegedly 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.