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World Athletics OKs More Russians For Competition As 'Neutrals'

The list of newly successful applicants includes former world hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov. (file photo)

The ruling body of international track-and-field athletics said on June 26 that its doping review board had approved eligibility for 61 more Russians to compete internationally as neutral athletes.

The World Athletics organization's decision brings the total number of approved Russian athletes to 123 with less than a month to go before the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics, although no more than 10 may compete in the Japanese capital.

It announced the rulings on its website, adding that the Russian Federation remains suspended.

It and other organizations have allowed specific athletes to apply individually to compete under "authorized neutral athlete," or ANA, status.

The World Athletics list of the 61 newly successful applicants includes former world hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov.

It said five athletes had been rejected.

The World Athletics Council said there was "no cap on the number of Russian athletes who may compete at international competitions in 2021" outside of Olympic Games and other championships, "provided they have ANA status."

But "the council agreed that for the remainder of 2021, no more than 10 Russian athletes" may compete at any single championships, including the Olympics.

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has been suspended since 2015 after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of systematic, mass doping among Russian athletes.

Dozens of Olympic and tens of other medals have been stripped from Russian competitors as a result of those and other findings, many more than any other country in history.

The doping scandal resulted in Team Russia's ban from international competition, including the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Winter Olympics.

Since RusAF’s suspension, clean Russian athletes have been competing as authorized neutral athletes under the nondescript logo AOR, or Athlete Of Russia, without flying the Russian flag or accompanying national symbols.

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