World Athletics approves 23 Russians to compete as neutrals


MONACO — World Athletics has declared 23 Russian track and field athletes eligible to compete under a neutral flag ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

With their national federation under a doping suspension, Russians must apply for individual exemptions to gain “authorized neutral athlete” status after their drug-testing records have been vetted.

High jumper Mikhail Akimenko and race walker Vasiliy Mizinov — both silver medalists from the 2019 world championships — were among the names on the list released Saturday by track’s governing body.

A total of 27 Russian athletes have so far been declared eligible to compete internationally in 2021 as neutrals.

The other four include three-time world champion high jumper Mariya Lasitskene and world champion pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova.

No more than 10 Russian athletes, however, will be granted eligibility to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, under rules approved by the World Athletics council when it recently revived the authorized neutral athlete or “ANA” scheme.

Two applications for ANA status have so far been rejected by the World Athletics doping review board. Saturday’s announcement did not identify them.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, has been suspended since 2015 after investigations revealed doping was rife among elite Russian athletes.

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