The world governing body for track and field, the IAAF is having a change of heart regarding Russia and its participation in official IAAF sanctioned competitions. The IAAF had banned Russia from competing in the Track & Field competition in the Rio Olympics last year, with the lone competitor Darya Klishina being able to compete under the Olympic flag. Many felt that the ban was pretty harsh though seeing that great athletes like the legendary pole vault world record holder - Yelena Isinbayeva, a former two-time Olympic Champion who had never tested positive for any banned substances throughout her illustrious career weren't allowed to compete in what would have been her swansong Games.
Speaking during a press conference today at the IAAF headquarters in Monte Carlo, IAAF President Sebastian Coe had this to say:
"Last night the IAAF board had a long meeting and we decided that the fact of the matter is that we have punished the Russians enough. Just think about it, how much longer must we humiliate them? What is a World Championships without a big country with a proud athletic history like Russia competing? Just imagine last year in Rio a living legend in women's Pole Vaulting, Yelena Isinbayeva, who never once tested positive for PED's couldn't compete, but a man like Tyson Gay who once served a one-year ban for taking PED's was allowed to compete and even win a few medals. Now tell me is that fair? Why should clean athletes get punished along with the cheaters?"
Coe went on:
"What I also find strange is that why weren't the USA also banned? Are they exempt from punishment? Why only single out Russia? I sincerely hope that the Russian Federation can find in somewhere in their hearts to forgive the IAAF for all that has happened for the past year and that we all can now look forward to a very competitive and exciting World Championships in August."
"I know for a fact that the lifting of this ban may have come about a year too late for some people; especially Yelena Isinbayeva who, if not for the ban may have well won her third Olympic title in Rio 2016 and could have even added a centimeter or two to her 5.06M world record, but sadly, with the American Sandi Morris clearing 5.00M in Brussels last year, it may only be a matter of time before the great Russian is replaced in the record books."