— Published 23 December 2021

Twenty Russians and not one more

The year 2022 has not yet begun, but it is already looking complicated for Russian athletics. World Athletics, the world governing body of the discipline, has detailed the eligibility procedure for Russian athletes to compete in international events. It does not reveal the slightest relaxation. The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) will have to choose a group of 20 athletes, not one more, who will be able to compete under cover of neutrality in the major competitions of the international calendar in 2022, all disciplines included. The procedure concerns the World Team Walk Championships in Muscat in March, the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in the same month, the World Outdoor Championships in Eugene in July, the European Championships in Munich in August, the World Half Marathon Championships in Yanghzou in November, and finally the European Cross Country Championships in Turin in December. Twenty Russian athletes for competitions in disciplines as diverse as walking, cross-country, road running and all events in the stadium. Not easy. Note: no changes can be made to the group of 20 athletes chosen by RusAF, once designated, for any reason. Furthermore, the quota of 20 Russians will automatically be reduced by 25% for each breach of the requirements for neutral athletes, including anti-doping rule violations. The calculation is simple: on the first breach, the 20 Russians would be reduced to 15; on the fourth, there would be no Russian athletes at all.