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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Yelena Isinbayeva, a former Russian Olympic pole-vaulting champion, on Friday called on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) not to punish honest athletes in response to doping allegations against Russia.
The IAAF is due to take a decision today on whether or not to ban Russia from forthcoming competitions including the 2016 Olympics, a step recommended on Monday by a commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which alleged widespread doping by Russian athletes.
"The situation the Russian National team is in now is very sad but I ask you not to treat all the athletes in the same negative way," Isinbayeva said in an open letter, addressed to the world athletics community, on the website of the All-Russia Athletic Federation.
"I hope for the leaders of the IAAF will show wisdom," she said, predicting "the correct decision will be taken".
"Those who are guilty will pay their price, and those who are innocent will have the opportunity to compete and represent our country in a dignified manner at all international sports arenas."
Isinbayeva, 33, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time World Champion, and holds the current world record holder in the event.
Reporting by Jason Bush; Editing by Andrew Osborn