Three Russians clear to compete as neutral athletes

Pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova won gold at the European Indoor Championships in 2015

Three Russian athletes have been cleared to return to competition by the IAAF's doping review board.

Pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivkova and hammer thrower Aleksei Sokirskii all met the "exceptional eligibility criteria".

Russia's athletics federation remains suspended from international competition after claims of state-sponsored doping.

The decision means they would compete as neutral athletes.

The athletes' participation in competitions is still subject to approval by the organisers of individual events.

The three women could compete in the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade and European Throwing Cup next month.

Long jumper Darya Klishina and sprinter Yulia Stepanova had previously been declared eligible and will remain so.

The IAAF has received a total of 48 applications from Russian athletes to compete independently, 28 of which were endorsed by Russia's Athletic Federation.

In a statement, the IAAF said six applications had been declined, but did not give the names of the athletes in question.

IAAF president Lord Coe said: "The application process to compete internationally as neutral athletes is about our desire to support the hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes including Russian athletes who have been failed by their national system.

"While prioritising applications based upon the entry deadlines of the competitions concerned, the primary responsibility of the doping review board must always be to safeguard the integrity of competition."

Before last summer's Olympic Games in Rio, the governing body outlined "strict criteria" any Russian athletes must meet if they wanted to take part in the Games.

Only US-based Klishina was able to meet the criteria - and she entered as a neutral.


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