Prominent Russian high jumper Maria Lasitskene has hit out at the national federation, branding it a ‘circus’ over its inability to resolve a long-lasting doping saga and have its international membership reinstated.
Reigning world champion Lasitskene, who is the favorite to win Olympic gold next summer, could be denied a chance to participate in the Tokyo Games after World Athletics halted the process of granting neutral status to Russian competitors.
The Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF) could be expelled from World Athletics after it failed to pay a $5 million fine for alleged doping manipulation.
“RUSAF is a true circus with its team members, including chief Evgeni Yurchenko, being its main actors who have no shame. He resigned one month ago and then returned again as if nothing has happened. All those people should not represent Russian athletics, they only damage our reputation,” Lasitskene said.
“In December there will be a decisive World Athletics Council regarding Russia’s participation in the 2021 Olympics. RUSAF management has already wasted six months doing nothing and we will lose several more months again.
“The work of the RUSAF Reinstatement Committee will remain in doubt till autumn. It’s a pity that the Russian Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) turn a blind eye to this chaos. Though they have always done this regardless of who headed the RUSAF,” the jumper added.
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Last year, World Athletics suspended the process of granting neutral status to Russian athletes amid a doping scandal involving world silver medalist high-jumper Daniil Lysenko.
The new management of the Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF) accepted guilt, firing all the coaches and officials involved in the Lysenko row.
In order to be reinstated, RUSAF was obliged to pay a $5 million fine and additional costs to World Athletics, but failed to do so before the deadline.
The athletics governing body has moved the deadline and threatened to expel Russia from its membership if the fine is not paid by August 15.