Geert Vanden Wijngaert
July 09, 2016

MONACO (AP) The IAAF said Sunday that U.S.-based Russian long jumper Daria Klishina meets the ''exceptional eligibility criteria'' to take part in international competition as a neutral athlete, clearing the way for her to possibly compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

It said its doping review board ''unanimously accepted the application of Daria Klishina who, subject to completing the formalities, is now eligible to compete in international competitions as an independent neutral athlete.''

It said Klishina's participation was still subject to acceptance by the IOC.

In a post on Facebook, Klishina said she was ''really happy'' and ''would like to thank IAAF for its expert decision.''

The IAAF has already approved an application from Russian athlete and doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, who competed at last week's European championships.

Stepanova, an 800-meter runner who served a two-year doping ban, helped expose the widespread cheating in Russia that led the IAAF to ban the country's track and field athletes from global competition, including the Olympics. Stepanova is living and training in the United States at an undisclosed location.

The IAAF has said more than 80 Russian athletes have applied to compete in Rio under ''exceptional eligibility'' provisions. The special eligibility measure is aimed largely at Russians who have been based abroad, and few athletes are likely to be considered.

A decision on all claims will be made by July 18. The Olympic track and field competition starts on August 12.

Russia's athletics federation and sports minister condemned the IAAF board's ruling, which they maintained was also a rejection of the claims by 67 other Russian athletes. The IAAF statement, however, said only that most of the other applications ''have now been reviewed.''

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also called for the IAAF to be disbanded.

''People have been dedicating themselves to sport for decades, and the IAAF has been making money from them, selling commercial rights, and now this is how it behaves,'' Mutko told the Tass state news agency.

Yelena Isinbayeva, the Russian pole vaulter and two-time Olympic champion, said the IAAF board's decision was just ''empty words'' and should be ignored. The only decision that matters, she said, was the one to be issued on July 21 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Russia said it filed the appeal with the Switzerland-based sports court jointly with 68 athletes.

Russia was banned from all international competition by the IAAF in November after a WADA report alleged state-sponsored doping in the country.

The IAAF upheld the ban last month, saying Russia failed to meet reform conditions. But the IAAF also approved a measure allowing individuals to compete as ''neutral athletes'' if they can show they have been regularly tested by a reliable agency. Russia's own anti-doping agency was almost entirely shut down last year after it faced cover-up claims.

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