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World Athletics grants 20 neutral-status permits to Russia ahead of Tokyo Olympics

A total of 143 Russian athletes have so far been declared eligible to compete as authorized neutral athletes in 2021, five applications have been rejected

MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. The world’s governing body of track and field athletics, World Athletics, announced a decision on Wednesday to grant permits to 20 Russian athletes, allowing them to perform at international competitions.

"The World Athletics Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 20 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2021," World Athletics press office said in a statement.

"A total of 143 Russian athletes have so far been declared eligible to compete as authorized neutral athletes in 2021," the statement reads. "Five applications have been rejected".

"The World Athletics Council approved the reinstatement of the authorized neutral athlete (ANA) program for clean athletes from Russia in March 2021, following the approval of the RusAF Reinstatement Plan," the statement continued.

"There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes, who may compete at international competitions in 2021 (outside of the Olympic Games and other championships), provided they have ANA status," the statement reads.

"The participation of all athletes granted ANA status is still subject to formalities under World Athletics Rules being completed (which could, in some cases, include additional testing) and to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organizers," the statement added.

On March 18, the World Athletics Council announced a decision to reinstate "the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) program for clean athletes from Russia." On March 31, the World Athletics Council published a list of guidelines on granting the ANA status to Russian track and field athletes this year.

According to a decision of World Athletics published earlier this year, no more than ten athletes would be able to get the ANA status to compete in major sporting events (Olympics, world championships and European U23 championships).

Olympic Games in Tokyo

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan’s capital of Tokyo will be held this year between July 23 and August 8. In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan for one year due to the spread of COVID-19.

On July 8, the Kyodo news agency reported that organizers of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo decided against the presence of spectators at the Games in the Japanese capital and three neighboring prefectures because of the recent surge in the number of reported novel coronavirus cases.

The organizers of the Olympics in Tokyo announced in March that all spectators from overseas would be barred from attending competitions in Japan, adding later that up to 10,000 local fans would be allowed per venue of the Games’ competitions.

As of today, Japan is ranked 34th globally in terms of reported COVID-19 cases, which currently stand at over 824,580. A total of over 14,970 people have died of the novel coronavirus infection there, while more than 789,900 have recovered from the illness.

Russian athletes will be competing in Tokyo under the flag and logo of the Russian National Olympic Committee (ROC) instead of the Russian national flag and state emblem. The national anthem of Russia is also barred from use at the Olympics in Japan.