Russia drops appeal against athletics doping ban

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s athletics federation has dropped a legal challenge against its ban from international competition.

The country has been suspended since 2015 because of doping, though dozens of top athletes have been allowed to compete via a neutral status by the IAAF governing body.

If the ban is not lifted by Sept. 27, Russian athletes will compete at the world championships in Qatar as neutrals.

Last September, the Russian federation appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, saying it was unfair for the IAAF to ask for access to evidence of past doping cases stored at a Moscow laboratory.

The data and samples are guarded by Russian law enforcement.

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“I’m convinced that at the moment we need to focus efforts on negotiations with the IAAF regarding the reinstatement on issues which are under our control, and not waste time and strength on legal processes,” Russian athletics federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said on Friday.

The next IAAF council meeting in March is unlikely to lift Russia’s ban because the World Anti-Doping Agency is still working on analyzing data from the lab before it can request samples.

“We are pleased both organizations can focus their time and funds on RusAF’s reinstatement rather than preparing legal cases and arguments,” the IAAF said.

Russia must also compensate the IAAF’s costs for investigating the doping scandal, something that Shlyakhtin said in December could take several months.

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