Alexander Zemlianichenko, File
May 31, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) The IAAF rejected bids from 28 Russians to compete as neutral athletes on Wednesday and approved only three.

Russia was banned from all international track and field competition in 2015 amid allegations of widespread doping and a cover-up orchestrated by government officials.

Former European javelin champion Vera Rebrik, who competed for Ukraine until 2014, was approved to compete Wednesday along with 400-meter runner Ksenia Aksyonova and hurdler Vera Rudakova.

A total of 15 Russians have now been cleared to compete internationally as neutrals, while the IAAF has rejected 45 others.

''I'm grateful to the members of the Doping Review Board for the dedication and diligence they are giving to this on-going review process,'' IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. ''The importance of this huge task should not be underestimated. There can be no time constraints or deadlines when the protection of clean athletes everywhere is at stake.''

Those already approved include high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene, 110-meter hurdles world champion Sergei Shubenkov and doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, an 800-meter runner.

Lasitskene recorded the biggest win yet for a neutral athlete at last week's Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon, leaping 2.03 meters to take first place in the high jump.

The Russian track federation published a list of the 28 athletes who were rejected Wednesday. It didn't include any big names, but there were some promising younger competitors such as Konstantin Kholmogorov, who ran the fastest 800-meter indoor time in Russia this year, according to IAAF records.

No reasons were given for the rejections by either the IAAF or the Russian federation.

Another 27 cases remain under review with decisions expected soon, the IAAF said. There was no update on more than 40 other applications out of the ''more than 130'' which the IAAF says it has received.

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