World Athletics has voted to allow Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in international events, such as the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The athletics world governing body has restored a scheme which will give Russian track and field athletes who meet the anti-doping criteria, the chance to compete as a neutral in international events.
Russia as a nation has been banned from competing in track and field events since 2015 because of evidence found of state-sponsored doping. In 2019, they were also banned by the World Doping Agency from competing in all major sporting events for four years, however, this was reduced to two years in December 2020.
The lifting of the ban will give a number of elite Russian athletes the chance to compete in upcoming Diamond League events ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The likes of Mariya Lasitskene and Sergei Shubenkov are likely to have the opportunity to compete internationally again.
29 Russian track and field athletes competed as neutrals at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, winning two gold medals, three silver, and one bronze between them.
A slightly different neutrals scheme will be in place for the Olympics, with Russian athletes to be competing for the ROC, the Russian Olympic Committee.
Author: Fred Dobberson