MOSCOW (Reuters) - Long jumper Darya Klishina, the only Russian athlete cleared to compete in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, says she does not feel a traitor.
The 25-year-old was given the go-ahead on Sunday by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete internationally as a neutral athlete after a successful appeal against a blanket ban on her country’s track and field athletes for systematic doping.
Klishina, whose best performance at a senior global event was fourth at the world indoor championships in Istanbul in 2012, thanked the IAAF for giving her the chance to compete in Rio in a post on her Facebook page shortly after the decision.
However, a number of Russian fans were not happy and accused Klishina of being a traitor for not showing solidarity with other Russian sportsmen and women.
“I would like to point out that I didn’t start training in the USA with an American coach a month before this situation turned out the way it did. I have been there for three years.
“Therefore, I think it is wrong to criticize me and call me a Russian traitor,” said Klishina in an interview with the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) website www.rusathletics.com.
“I am still really waiting and hoping that I will not be going to Rio alone. I want to believe that the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, following its decision on July 19, will give us a positive decision.”
She added: “Now we all need support. Let’s unite and we will believe right to the end that we will compete in Rio as a team.”
The IAAF banned Russia’s track and field athletes last year after a World Anti-Doping Agency report uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping within the country.
The ban was extended last month, ruling the country’s athletes out of next month’s Olympics, subject to an appeal by the ARAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Reporting By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy,; Editing by Neville Dalton