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They are in, they are out, they are in and they are out and of course, they are potentially back in yet again. The Russians may return to international competition and the Tokyo Olympic Games under a neutral flag.

The World Athletics Council (WAC) is seeking to have the Authorised Neutral Athlete program reinstated in time for Tokyo.

There is a two-day virtual meeting this week and during the Thursday session, WAC is expected to allow certain Russian athletes to compete. World Athletics Russia Taskforce chairman Rune Andersen’s plan for reinstatement was voted unanimously in favour on March 1.

However, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said, “[this is] not the end but the beginning of a long journey, with an incredible amount of work for RusAF to do to rebuild trust.”

The Russian Anti-doping Agency, and Russian Athletics Federation have a long and winding history of doping, coverups, and corruption. The legacy of cheating continues with the bizarre coverup story of World champion high jumper Danil Lysenko and the eight-year ban as well as the firing of five officials.

The chaos in Russian continued to hemorrhage officials and athletes into 2020 as a disciplinary tribunal upheld charges laid by the Athletics Integrity Unit against former RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin, and former board member Artur Karamyan and three others.

Coe is right in one respect, this isn’t over yet, even with the reinstatement of a few athletes who may adhere to strict new competition guidelines.