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Mariya Lasitskene: Top Russian athlete hits out at Moscow sports officials

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Russian high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene on Tuesday hit out at Moscow’s sports officials ahead of this month’s world championships in Doha, saying she will not let them stop her from going to another Olympics.

Mariya Lasitskene
Mariya Lasitskene

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday gave Russia three weeks to explain “inconsistencies” in a cache of laboratory data handed over to investigators, raising the possibility of a fresh ban on the country in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Lasitskene, a two-time world champion, is one of the Russian athletes who has been allowed to compete under a neutral flag while others have been banned from sport since November 2015 over a vast doping scandal.

She was barred from taking part in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and said she has “no certainty” that Russian athletes will be allowed to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I do not intend to miss a second Olympics in a row because of some strange people that cannot do their job honestly,” the 26-year-old wrote on Instagram, referring to Russian athletic officials.

She vowed that Russian athletes will “fully defend our rights to take part” in the Tokyo games.

In June, Lasitskene said athletes were fed up with promises to reform the country’s doping-tainted coaching while blaming their failures on an anti-Russian conspiracy.

Russia stands to be declared non-compliant by WADA if it fails to explain why evidence of some positive tests handed over by a whistleblower does not show up in data provided by Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory in January.

In another blow on Monday, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) maintained a ban on the Russian athletics federation pending analysis of the data.

Though the Russian federation has been banned since November 2015, athletes from Russia have been competing as neutrals and 118 are due to participate in the World Athletics Championships which get underway in the Qatari capital on Friday.


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