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It is official. The World Athletics Council WAC) voted on Thursday to allow some Russian athletes to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) program had permitted some Russian athletes to compete in international competitions under a neutral flag. Cancelled last March, the program is back on for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
A total of 10 Russian athletes will be accepted and will have to apply for the opportunity to compete in Tokyo.
Rune Anderson, Chairman of the World Athletics Taskforce said that Russia has now begun the long reinstatement process.
On March 1, 2021, WAC unanimously voted for the approval of the reinstatement plan for the ANA program to return and eventually allow the Russian back in.
Sebastian Coe warned earlier in the week that this vote of confidence is just the beginning of that very long process.
“It won’t mean anything unless RusAF (Russian Athletics Federation) now cheerfully and consistently completes all of the enormous works that are required to lift the ban and to put in place the enduring change in culture that Russian athletics so desperately needs,” said Anderson.
Russia has had a long and tumultuous record of stumbling during their process to be reinstated since 2015.