From Inside the Games

Around 10 Russian athletes have sent individual applications to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to be allowed to compete in this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, it has been reported today.

Mikhail Butov, secretary general of the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF), claimed he did not know the exact number who had applied and did not reveal their names.

“As of now, about 10 athletes filed their [individual] applications,” Butov told Russia’s official news agency TASS.

Russians who want to compete at Rio 2016 must do so as neutral athletes the IAAF have ruled after they refused to lift a suspension imposed on the country last November following claims of state-supported doping.

An amendment was passed during the IAAF Council meeting in Vienna earlier this month which means that any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions

The guidelines have been published in the face of opposition from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

He claimed at a specially-convened Olympic Summit in Lausanne last week that any Russian deemed eligible to compete at Rio 2016 by IAAF would have to do so under the flag of that country because the rules do not allow for them to compete as a neutral athlete.

Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has supported the position of the IAAF, despite also being the vice-president of the IOC.

The IAAF are keen for neutral participation primarily in order to find a way for 800 metres runner Yulia Stepanova to compete, a key recommendation of the IAAF Taskforce chaired by Norwegian Rune Andersen, which ruled that Russia had not done enough to have its suspension lifted before Rio 2016.

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