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Despite doping ban lifted, Russian path to Olympics looks tough

Despite lifting the doping ban from Russian athletes, World Athletics kept its ban on Russian athletes in international events

Track and field test event in Tokyo Olympics stadium (Source: InsideTheGames)

Track and field test event in Tokyo Olympics stadium (Source: InsideTheGames)



Updated: 23 March 2023 6:40 PM GMT

Track and field leaders signaled Thursday that it will be nearly impossible for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Paris Olympics next year if the war in Ukraine continues.

The World Athletics Council kon in place “for the foreseeable future."

It's a move that goes directly against the International Olympic Committee's efforts to find a way for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in upcoming events.

World Athletics will form a working group to determine under what conditions Russians might return to international competition, but for now, there is no apparent pathway.

The move came on the same day that World Athletics finally lifted a seven-year suspension of Russia's track federation for a doping scandal that dates back a decade.

Though the federation is back in good standing so long as it adheres to nearly three dozen “special conditions,” that move did nothing to change the reality that Russians will not be allowed at track meets for at least several months, if not years.

After having recommended the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian sportspeople 13 months ago, the International Olympic Committee in January said it was seeking a “pathway” for Russians to take part in the Games in the French capital.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has previously been unequivocal in his declarations on refusing Russian participation following the fallout from the Ukraine invasion and has maintained that his organization will not budge

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