MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Russia’s Olympic high jump champion Maria Lasitskene does not think that World Athletics will reinstate the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) at its fall meeting, she said in an interview with TASS.
RusAF’s membership in World Athletics was suspended in November 2015 amid a high-profile doping scandal in the Russian athletics. A taskforce headed by Norway’s Rune Andersen was created in December 2015 to track the RusAF reinstatement plan progress. The Russian side is to compensate the taskforce and doping investigation expenses.
"Another World Athletics council will take place in fall," Lasitskene recalled. "I don’t think we will be fully reinstated there. But I would like to see the restriction only allowing ten people at official international competitions lifted, neutral statuses extended automatically and Russian commercial tournaments regaining the opportunity to invite foreign competitors."
"I don’t see a problem if foreigners were to compete with Russians who have neutral statuses in Russia. The ‘Battle of the Sexes’ and ‘the Pole Vault Festival’ would only win from that. Moreover, all doping samples of athletes in Russia have been checked outside of the country for five years now so the tournaments are protected in this regard," she added.
The RusAF suspension has been extended more than 15 times since 2015. This issue was discussed with the World Athletics leadership ahead of the Tokyo Olympics but the parties then decided to return to this topic at the fall council and the World Athletics congress that will take place later.
"I think that RusAF, the Sports Ministry and everyone who is responsible for our reinstatement should be fighting for all these things already now. There is no other way to salvage athletics in our country because sponsors are not interested in this internal struggle," the athlete believes.