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IOC board asks ethics body for advice on Stepanova

Europe
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Berlin (dpa) - The IOC Executive Board asked its Ethics Commission on Thursday for advice over the participation of Yulia Stepanova in the Rio Olympics.

International athletics federation the IAAF last week approved the return of the Russian doping whistleblower to international competition as a neutral athlete because of the 800 metre runner‘s actions in exposing cheating.

But the International Olympic Committee gets the final say when it comes to the Rio Games from August 5-21.

Russian track and field athletes are otherwise banned after the country was found to have a systematic doping problem in athletics, but clean athletes may still be able to compete in Brazil.

"As the subject of a participation of Yulia Stepanova in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 involves important ethical aspects, the IOC Executive Board (EB) has decided to ask the IOC Ethics Commission for its advice in this respect," an IOC statement said.

"Mrs Stepanova requested from the IOC the right to compete as a neutral athlete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, having fulfilled the qualification criteria established by the IAAF.

"The deliberations of the IOC Ethics Commission will include the opportunity for a hearing for Mrs Stepanova."

Stepanova, who was injured in her comeback at the European Championships on Wednesday, was banned for two years in 2013 because of anomalies in her biological passport.

The suspension of Russian athletics followed allegations of systematic doping in Russian sports made by Stepanova and husband Vitaly Stepanov, a former member of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, in a documentary by German network ARD broadcast in December 2014.

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