Russia's Olympic athletics slot to be decided in June

Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:32am EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Russian athletics has been given a longer than expected period to prove it has made enough progress in reforming its anti-doping operation to be re-instated to the sport in time to take part in the Rio Olympics

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Thursday that its next Council meeting, when the Russian situation will be discussed and almost certainly decided, will take place in Vienna on June 17. After the last Council meeting in March, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he expected it to be in May.

Russia, second behind the United States in the athletics medal table at the 2012 London Olympics, is banned from all athletics after an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed widespread state-sponsored doping.

The country now has to convince the IAAF that it has put in place measures to show improvement in its anti-doping operation and a "change of culture."

Mikhail Butov, general secretary of the Russian athletics federation, told Reuters on Thursday: "We were expecting this, now we will continue to work together with the IAAF working group.

"Another meeting will take place in two days time. A massive amount of work has already been done, but there is still a lot ahead of us. Of course we hope that there will be a positive decision."

Last month Norwegian Rune Andersen, who heads the five-person international task force reviewing Russia's reforms after its suspension from global competition in November, said there had been "significant progress", including changing its president and council and developing anti-doping educational programs.

"However, the view of the task force is that there is significant work still to be done to satisfy the reinstatement conditions....we still need to interview athletes and coaches named in the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) commission report to understand the scope and nature of previous doping activities," Anderson said in March.   Continued...

The logo of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is seen in Monaco, March 11, 2016.   REUTERS/Eric Gaillard