ATHLETICS

IAAF approves extension of Russian doping ban

Russia is set to miss the 2017 World Championships after the IAAF Council voted to prolong its blanket ban from international competition.

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IAAF approves extension of Russian doping ban
ERIC GAILLARD REUTERS

World athletics chiefs voted to extend Russia's blanket ban from international competition on Monday, meaning the European powerhouse is set to miss the World Championships in London in August.

The International Association of Atheltics Federations (IAAF) issued a statement saying its Council, chaired by president Sebastien Coe, had approved the task force recommendation to extend Russia's suspension, explaining that the country was "not ready for reinstatement".

Russia has been banned since November 2015 following a damaging report alleging that state-sponsored doping was rife in the country.

The punishment had already been extended in March and then June 2016, preventing Russia's athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics.

Coe meanwhile reiterated the IAAF's commitment to giving clean Russian athletes the possibility to compete as neutrals.

Sebastian Coe (centre), IAAF's President, Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF taskforce on Russia (right) and Hamad Kalkaba Malboum (left), President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) attend a press conference as part of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) council meeting in Monaco, February 6, 2017.

"Our priority is to return clean athletes to competition but we must all have confidence in the process," said Coe at the IAAF's Council meeting in Cap d'Ail, France.

"Clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system. We must ensure they are protected and that those safeguards give confidence to the rest of the world that there is a level playing field of competition when Russians return."

So far in 2017, 35 Russian athletes have applied to compete as neutral athletes in international competition, the statement added.