Russia's athletics return could be at European Championships
GENEVA (AP) If reinstated in June, Russia could still compete at the European track championships in July, the head of European Athletics said Wednesday after meeting senior officials in Moscow.
The July 6-10 championships in Amsterdam could be a comeback event ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics if Russia's suspension following allegations of state-sponsored and systematic doping is lifted.
''There is still time enough for the European Championships after that decision is taken,'' European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Hansen is a member of the IAAF Council, which should decide on Russia's status at a June 17 meeting in Vienna, Austria.
On Tuesday in Moscow, Hansen met Russian IOC member Alexander Zhukov and new leaders of Russia's track federation. The federation's previous president, Valentin Balakhnichev, was banned for life by the IAAF this year for extorting athletes in a wider conspiracy to cover up doping, which led to the IAAF suspension.
Hansen said details of the work by an IAAF task force to assess Russia's progress toward reinstatement was not discussed during his visit.
If Russia is allowed back into competition, its athletes have few opportunities before the track and field program starts at the Rio Games on Aug. 12.
After the IAAF gathers in Vienna, only two Diamond League meetings remain before the Olympics: in Monaco and London in mid-July.