Stepanova granted permission to race in Rio


Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova will compete at Rio 2016 as an independent neutral athlete, the IAAF has confirmed.

Stepanova - an 800-metre runner - was banned for two years in 2013 after anomalies were found in her biological passport and all her results since March 2011 were stripped from the record.

The 29-year-old, who lost her silver medal from the 2011 European Indoor Championship, then colluded with German journalists in the documentary that accused Russian sports of state-sponsored doping.

Russian track and field athletes were subsequently banned from the global stage by the IAAF, a suspension that remains in place for the Olympic Games after the world athletics governing body ruled they had not met readmission criteria.

However, clean athletes were permitted to race as independents and Stepanova is the first to be granted permission to take part in Rio.

An IAAF statement released on Friday read: "The IAAF Doping Review Board has today decided its first case of an athlete seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in International Competition as a neutral athlete under Competition Rule 22.1A.

"The Doping Review Board has unanimously accepted the application of Yuliya Stepanova under Competition Rule 22.1A(c) as someone having made a truly exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of clean athletes, fair play and the integrity and authenticity of the sport.

"Ms Stepanova is now eligible to compete in International Competitions as an independent neutral athlete.

"Ms Stepanova's participation as a neutral athlete in International Competition is still subject to acceptance by the organiser of the competition in question, in accordance with the rules of that competition. 

"The IAAF has immediately informed European Athletics of Ms Stepanova's eligibility given that the European Athletics Championships will take place in Amsterdam in less than a week (6-10 July). Other international events organisers will receive similar notification of Ms Stepanova's eligibility later today."

Meanwhile, the IAAF also confirmed over 80 athletes have applied for similar dispensation to Stepanova.

They added: "The IAAF has of today (1 July) received more than 80 applications from Russian athletes seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in an individual capacity under a separate provision in Competition Rule 22.1A(b), namely, on the basis that they are not tainted by RUSAF's failure to put in place adequate anti-doping systems because they have been subject to other, fully adequate systems outside of the country for a sufficiently long period to provide a substantial assurance of integrity.

"The form of these further applications is being checked against the Guidelines issued by the IAAF last week and, if they are in the correct form, they too will be referred to the Doping Review Board for a decision on exceptional eligibility."