The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Friday has approved Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova’s application to compete at the Rio Olympics under a neutral flag.
The IAAF said its doping review board unanimously accepted Stepanova’s application and that they had received more than 80 formal requests from Russian athletes seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in an individual capacity.
“Stepanova is now eligible to compete in international competitions as an independent neutral athlete,” the IAAF said in a statement.
The IAAF voted last month to maintain a global competition ban on the All-Russia Athletic Federation, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided only athletes who are individually cleared to compete by their respective international federations could go to Rio.
As part of the process, applicants have to email the IAAF’s general secretary and provide documentary evidence to prove they have clean anti-doping records that can be verified by credible agencies.
Stepanova, the 29-year-old 800m runner, is the first athlete to pass the “exceptional eligibility” guidelines outlined by the IAAF’s Doping Review Board.
(With Agency Inputs)