Russian athlete moves IAAF to perform under neutral flag

Moscow, Jan 19 (IANS) Russian runner Sergei Shubenkov has filed an application with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) requesting a permit for taking part in international competitions as a neutral athlete.

In early January, the IAAF listed criteria which Russian track and field athletes should meet in order to file applications for participating in international competitions as neutral athletes. All applications must be submitted to the IAAF via the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), reports Tass.

“Yes, I have filed a request for participation in international tournaments and sent the documents to the All-Russia Athletics Federation, which would forward them to IAAF,” Russia’s 2015 World Champion in 110 metres hurdles Shubenkov said on Wednesday.

“I would rather refrain from making predictions on my chances to be granted permission for the competitions, since last time I relied on the IAAF logic and hoped that the outcome would be positive, but my hopes were not justified,” the Russian athlete added.

In 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to the activities of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities in violation of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement to restore its membership in the global federation.

In mid-June 2016, the IAAF Council ruled it was still too early to restore ARAF membership of the international organisation, subsequently extending the suspension of Russian athletes from all international tournaments, including the Rio Olympic Games in August 2016.

Later, the IAAF anti-doping agency turned down Russian field and track athletes’ individual applications, except the one filed by three-time European champion Daria Klishina.