By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The governing body for world track and field has said a ban on Russian athletes is being extended amid concerns that the country was “backsliding” on reforms to its anti-doping programs.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on June 9 that Russia had another three months to demonstrate it was making progress in cleaning up drug-monitoring systems.
If it doesn’t, “clean” Russian athletes would be required to compete under a neutral, non-Russian flag at the world championships that begin in September in Qatar.
Rune Andersen, who heads the IAAF’s task force overseeing Russian compliance, said Russia had made older samples of athletes’ tests available so that regulators could screen them for past offenses.
But he also said there was concern that banned coaches may still be working with Russian athletes.
“The task force shares the [IAAF] frustration that progress in two areas is being undermined by apparent backsliding in two other areas,” Andersen said.
Russia has been suspended from international track-and-field competitions since 2015 after revelations of widespread doping. Russia’s hosting of the 2014 Sochi Olympics was tarnished by revelations of a government-organized effort to mask samples from athletes using banned substances.
Dozens of top “clean” Russian athletes have since been allowed to compete as neutrals.
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Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of Russia’s track-and-field federation, said his organization was working to root out banned coaches.
But he also said that “the fact that there were breaches still needs to be proved.”