Six more Russians cleared as neutrals - but war ban keeps them out
Feb 6 (Reuters) - Six more Russians have been cleared by World Athletics to compete internationally as neutral athletes but they remain frozen out as their country is still banned from the sport following Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
The Russian Athletics Federation has been suspended since 2015 as a result of widespread doping and a state-sponsored cover-up, though a number of athletes have been allowed to compete as neutrals if they could show a "clean record" that also disassociates them from the tainted system.
Nikita Anishchenkov (high jump), Artem Chermoshanskiy (long jump), Maksim Pianzin (race walking), Nikita Kurbanov (high jump, Danil Chechela (long jump), Marina Kovaleva (long distance) are the latest to meet the exceptional eligibility criteria and were approved by the Doping Review Board, WA said on Monday.
However, the sport's governing body has separately banned all athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus, including those authorised as neutrals, from taking part in international events while the war in Ukraine continues.
That means that track and field athletes would not be eligible to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, despite the International Olympic Committee saying it welcomed a proposal from the Olympic Council of Asia for Russian and Belarusian sportsmen and women to earn qualification spots through competitions in Asia.
That suggestion was greeted by outrage in Ukraine, where President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said allowing Russia to compete in the Olympics would be tantamount to showing that "terror is somehow acceptable".
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