By Brian Homewood
LONDON (Reuters) – Global athletics boss Sebastian Coe praised what he described as a candid apology from Russia over a doping scandal on Thursday but reiterated it was not the moment for the country to be readmitted to the sport.
Russia’s athletics boss Dmitry Shylakhtin told an IAAF Congress, held on the eve of the World Athletics Championships, that his country’s ban from the sport was correct and that he was determined to fight doping.
He said he was sorry to “all athletes who have had gold and silver medals snatched from them at competitions.”
Despite his comments, the IAAF Congress voted in favor of maintaining the ban, imposed in November 2015 after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report found evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
“I thought it was a very candid response today, a very candid presentation,” IAAF president Coe told reporters.
“The whole Council and the whole Congress was pleased… that the Russian federation recognized themselves that they have been through some pretty torrid times and are doing everything possible to make sure the federation is reengineered.”
Coe said he was also “pleased” that Russia accepted the criteria for its reintroduction.
“I think it was a very constructive day and I think progress is being made, but the (Congress) supports the recommendations of the task force that this was not the moment to reinstate Russia,” said Coe.
“We need to do everything over the next few months to normalize this situation.”
“The guiding principle has always been that we wanted to separate the clean athletes from the tainted system,” he added
Nineteen Russian athletes will be competing as neutrals at the World Athletics Championships which start in London on Friday, having met strict IAAF criteria.
The head of the IAAF’s Task Force, Rune Andersen, said on Monday that Russia had yet to meet several of the criteria for reinstatement.
Drug-testing was still insufficient and banned coaches were still operating freely, he told reporters in London after a presentation to the IAAF Council.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)