July 31, 2017 / 6:22 AM / a year ago

Russia athletics chief London bound in bid to end ban

(Reuters) - Russia’s head of athletics Dmitry Shlyakhtin is traveling to London this week to address the sport’s governing body in a bid to have his country’s international ban lifted.

FILE PHOTO - All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) president Dmitry Shlyakhtin speaks during an interview in Moscow, Russia, May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Shlyakhtin, president of Russia’s athletics federation (RUSAF), will make a speech at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Congress on Thursday, a day before the World Championships begin at the London Stadium.

RUSAF has been banned since November 2015 after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inquiry exposed state-sponsored doping on a massive scale.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, said last week that RUSAF was unlikely to be reinstated during the Congress, although 19 Russian athletes have been given permission to compete as neutrals in London.

“He (Shlyakhtin) will be given the floor to speak for the first time and the (IAAF) Congress will decide whether to keep the suspension or to extend it further,” Mutko was quoted as saying by TASS news agency last week.

“Of course we would like to hope for the positive decision. But I believe we can already guess the outcome — while there is no decision from the IOC (International Olympic Committee), everyone will keep waiting for it.”

The Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) is still deemed non-compliant by WADA even though it has been allowed to resume testing under the supervision of international appointed experts and the UK anti-doping agency (UKAD), after meeting conditions set down by the global anti-doping body.

Both the IAAF and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) still regard Russia as non-compliant.

Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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