Monday, 12 June 2017 18:35

IAAF Taskforce to judge Russian progress during visit to Moscow

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Taskforce is scheduled to visit Moscow tomorrow to see if further progress has been made in the country's bid for reinstatement from suspension.

The Taskforce, headed by Norwegian Rune Andersen, are travelling to the Russian capital today prior to their visit tomorrow.

Andersen confirmed to insidethegames that during their visit the Taskforce "will continue to work our way through the verification criteria and reinstatement conditions".

They are due to report back on their visit during the 2017 IAAF Congress at ExCeL London on August 2 and 3.

The Congress is scheduled to take place on the eve of the IAAF World Championships, due to be held from August 4 to 13 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

Earlier this month, IAAF President Sebastian Coe claimed he is hoping the world governing body will witness a "stronger momentum" from Russia during the Taskforce's visit.

Following the IAAF Council meeting in London in April, Coe claimed Russia were a long way off from being reinstated having been suspended since November 2015.

"I think the Taskforce report, which I was commenting about, was that they had wanted to see more progress being made and that for whatever reason they, in their meetings in Russia, had not sensed that the same momentum was there," said the double Olympic gold medallist.

"I’m not going to pre-judge anything, but the Taskforce I know will be in Russia quite soon.

"They will report back to us literally in a few weeks’ time when we have our Council and our Congress meetings here just before the Championships.

"I’m hoping that we will witness a stronger momentum."Russia has been suspended from international competition by the IAAF since the publication of the first report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

It followed allegations by Vitaly Stepanov and Yuliya Stepanova of state-supported doping in the country on German television channel ARD.

Several athletes from Russia have since been cleared by the IAAF to compete as neutrals, including at this year's World Championships.

In recent weeks 400 metres runner Kseniya Aksyonova, javelin thrower Vera Rebrik and 400m hurdler Vera Rudakova joined 12 other Russian athletes who have previously been declared eligible by the IAAF Doping Review Board, composed of chair Robert Hersh from the United States, Dutchwoman Sylvia Barlag and Finland's Antti Pihlakoski.

The IAAF also confirmed they have rejected 28 other applications and a further 27 cases remain under review.

Since the publication of updated guidelines in January, the IAAF has received more than 130 applications from Russian athletes, more than 40 of which have been endorsed by the Russian Athletics Federation.

To be deemed eligible, Russians had to prove that "they are not directly implicated in any way (knowingly or unknowingly) by their national federation's failure to put in place adequate systems to protect and promote clean athletes".

They also must not have worked with a coach or doctor implicated by the doping scandal, as well as being subject to a minimum number of drug tests outside of the Russian system.