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Russian trio given green light by IAAF to compete at European Indoor Championship

Russia's Athletics Federation remains suspended from competing at international events, but five Russians will attend the Indoor Championship under a neutral flag. "Many" applications for future meets are under review.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has given the green light to three Russian athletes to compete at next week's European Indoor Championship under a neutral flag.

Russia has been suspended from international athletics, including the 2016 Olympic Games, since September 2015 amid damning reports of state-sponsored doping over several years.

But Russian athletes are permitted to compete in international tournaments, if they prove they are clean.

Pole-vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivkova and hammer thrower Aleksei Sokirskii were given the go ahead to compete at next week's event in Belgrade.

All three Russian athletes met the IAAF's "exceptional eligibility criteria" which allows them to compete under a neutral flag.

Yuliya Stepanova, who returned to competition last July, and doping whistle blower Darya Klishina were previously given permission to compete.

"Their participation as neutral athletes in international competition is still subject to acceptance by the individual athlete and the organizer of the competition in question, in accordance with the rules of that competition," read a statement published on Thursday.

The IAAF has received 48 applications to compete from Russian athletes, 28 of which have been approved by the country's athletics governing body. Another six applications were rejected, but the IAAF chose not to confirm the identities.

"The application process to compete internationally as neutral athletes is about our desire to support the hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes including Russian athletes who have been failed by their national system," added IAAF chief Sebastian Coe.

rd/mds (AFP)

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