Doping Whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova Declared Eligible To Compete As Independent
The IAAF announced that Russian doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova's "application to compete as an individual athlete has been accepted," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The former drug cheat's revelations "helped expose the massive doping problem in her country and the middle-distance runner left Russia and went into hiding after disclosing the issue." Stepanova "looks likely now to make a comeback" as early as July 6 in the 800m after European Athletics "approved her participation in the continental championships in Amsterdam." The IAAF said that "its doping review board unanimously accepted Stepanova's application, adding that it had received more than 80 formal requests from Russian athletes seeking exceptional eligibility to compete in an individual capacity" (REUTERS, 7/1). In London, Ben Bloom reported Stepanova's involvement at the Rio Games "is still subject to approval" by Olympic organizers. Russian Athletics Federation Head Dmitry Shlyaktin reacted to the news by insisting that his organization "treats the decision absolutely neutrally." Only athletes "who are individually cleared to compete will be able to go to Rio with applicants asked to email documentary evidence to the IAAF proving they have clean anti-doping records that can be verified by credible agencies" (TELEGRAPH, 7/1).