Earlier this week, World Athletics fined the Russian Athletics Federation an unprecedented $10 million for breaking anti-doping rules. Word Athletics also ruled that only 10 Russian athletes are permitted to compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as neutral competitors.
The decision came after discovering in November 2019 that Russian officials had been falsifying documents related to high jumper Danil Lysenko’s whereabouts when he was expected to take an out-of-competition test. Both Lysenko and his coach have since been suspended by the AIU (Athletics Integrity Unit).
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe told The Guardian on Thursday that he hopes this sanction creates real change within the Russian system.
The Russian federation was suspended in 2015 following allegations of a widespread state-sponsored doping of athletes at the Sochi Winter Games of 2014, but in September 2018 the suspension was lifted early, prompting an outcry from numerous athletes. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was given a deadline for handing over data from their Moscow Laboratory, which it failed to meet, leading to a ban handed down in December 2019, which remains under appeal.
High jumper Mariya Lasitskene and pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova competed as neutral athletes at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Both won gold medals in their events.
Half of the total owed, $5 million, must be paid by July 1, 2020 or the neutral Russian athletes will have their Olympic status revoked.