Russian athletics champion blasts
own sports authorities over Olympic ban
Send a link to a friend
[December 10, 2019]
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian high
jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her
country's own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from
the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new,
this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including
the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup,
for tampering with laboratory data.
The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020
Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and
some other Russian track and field athletes face additional
obstacles to being cleared for competition.
"I've already missed one Olympics and one and a half years of
international competition," Lasitskene wrote in an open letter
addressed to Russia's sports authorities.
"And it seems that's not the end of it. So who ultimately is to
blame? Who's going to give me back what I've lost?" she wrote in the
letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.
Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been
critical of Russia's athletics federation, which has been suspended
for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes
to voice her anger publicly.
World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month
halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia's athletics
federation after its president and six others were provisionally
suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.
[to top of second column]
Neutral athlete Maria Lasitskene competes. REUTERS/Dylan
As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it
was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some
Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as
"Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to
be delighted about getting neutral status?" Lasitskene wrote.
"Was the sports ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy
with the Russian athletics federation's work?"
The president of Russia's Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov,
on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate
(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; editing
by Christian Radnedge)
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.