Interfax: Mutko believes in rebirth of Russian track and field athletics

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

MOSCOW. May 20 (Interfax) – After the restoration of its rights, Russian track and field athletics should start with “a clean slate,” Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told Interfax.

“The majority of the disqualifications happened in track and field athletics and we will immediately set everything right and, I believe, start with a clean slate. At this stage, if everything goes smoothly, [participation of Russian athletes in] the Olympic Games is possible,” Mutko said.

A new generation of athletes has been prepared in Russia, he said. Mutko expressed hope that the new management of the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) will work effectively and cooperate with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and that the Sports Ministry will support all positive initiatives of the ARAF.

The Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of numerous violations of anti-doping rules, and recommended that the IAAF bar Russian track and field athletes from competitions held under its aegis, including the 2016 Olympics, in November 2015.

The IAAF Council suspended the ARAF’s membership, which means that Russia will not participate in the international competitions. As reported earlier, the IAAF will discuss the possibility of lifting the sanctions from the ARAF on June 17.