IAAF clears seven more Russians to compete as neutral athletes

Seven more Russian athletes have been cleared to compete as neutrals while their country remains suspended from international athletics.

The doping review board of the IAAF – athletics’ governing body – agreed the seven athletes had met “exceptional eligibility criteria”.

The group includes world champions Sergey Shubenkov and Mariya Kuchina.

In November 2015, Russia was banned from international athletics after claims of state-sponsored doping.

The country did not compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, after which the suspension was extended.

As it stands, Russia will not have a team at this year’s World Championships, which take place in London during August.

But Shubenkov and Kuchina could now defend their respective 110m hurdles and high jump titles.

Athletes can apply to the IAAF doping review board for neutral status if they can demonstrate they meet drug-testing criteria.

The other five to be cleared are pole vaulters Illia Mudrov and Olga Mullina, race walkers Sergey Shirobokov and Yana Smerdova, and high jumper Daniil Tsyplakov.

They take the tally of Russian athletes cleared to compete as neutrals to 12, with three applications approved in February, and two last year.

Their participation in competitions is still subject to approval by the organisers of individual events.

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