- Title: Lasitskene poised to defend world title as a 'neutral'
- Date: 21st July 2017
- Summary: DIGITAL BOARD SHOWING TIME, READING (Russian): "RUSSIAN CUP / 14-15 JULY" PEOPLE STANDING ON TRACK LASITSKENE WALKING AWAY GABRIELYAN SPEAKING TO MAN AND SHAKING HIS HAND (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HIGH JUMPER, MARIA LASITSKENE, TALKING ABOUT WHAT IS THE SECRET TO HER CURRENT SUCCESS, SAYING: "(My) Success is a result of my coach. Gennady Garikovich, in a proper manner and under his own system brings us to the start (line), and that is why I am in this shape. I give 100 percent for every start, and because of all of this put together, I think such good results are achieved." MAN HOLDING FLAG ON SIDE OF TRACK (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HIGH JUMPER, MARIA LASITSKENE, TALKING ABOUT BEING BANNED FROM INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS, SAYING): "This affected our form a lot, because international competitions are a completely different atmosphere, with completely different internal feelings and emotions. The competition is much higher, that is why the whole year and a half that we didn't have competition, they didn't go in vain regardless, but had there been a 2016 season, maybe the results now would be different. But that's a 'what-if'. We accepted this situation, trained, didn't give up and everything is ok now." VARIOUS OF TRACK AND FIELD MEET EVENT UNDERWAY (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HIGH JUMPER, MARIA LASITSKENE, SAYING: "I didn't hear anything bad and I don't think there is anything bad. This is a situation that we have all talked about 300 times already, we are already sick and tired of it, for now we have to resign ourselves to it. No, not resign but accept it, we cannot resign ourselves to it under any circumstance, we have to fight it. But it isn't my work now, I am doing my work, I am jumping. I am jumping high and with my results I am showing that... I am great (LAUGHS).â€ ATHLETES ON THE TRACK PEOPLE WATCHING THE TRACK FROM TRIBUNES
- Embargoed: 4th August 2017 11:36
- Keywords: Lasitskene defends world title neutral Russian athlete doping neutral competitor athletics sports
- Location: MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Athletics,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0026QNUCZJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Barred from international competition for nearly 17 months because of the Russian doping scandal, high jumper Maria Lasitskene could threaten the world record at the world championships next month.
Lasitskene won gold at the 2015 world championships under her maiden name Kuchina but the doping scandal that was already enveloping the sport in Beijing means she will not be wearing her country's colours when she defends the title in London.
The 24-year-old is one of 47 Russians cleared this year to compete as neutral athletes despite the ongoing suspension of the country's federation over a 2015 report that alleged state-sponsored doping.
This special status has been viewed as an affront to Russian patriotism, prompting some to question the loyalty of the athletes.
The athletes have had to prove to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that their training environment meets its anti-doping standards, and that appears to have also satisfied Lasitskene's rivals.
Lasitskene said she had not "heard anything bad" and even if some of her rivals have made clear their disgruntlement in private, it has clearly not affected her form.
The former Youth Olympic champion has dominated her event this year and is unbeaten in 19 competitions, indoors and outdoors.
Earlier this month at a Diamond League meet in Lausanne she jumped a personal best of 2.06 metres, three centimetres off the world record set by Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova in 1987.
While the Russian authorities have deplored the absence of the country's flag from major track and field meets, they have generally supported the efforts of athletes to compete as neutrals.
Russia has recently ramped up its efforts to overturn the bans against its athletics federation, its Paralympic Committee and its national anti-doping agency RUSADA.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last month allowed RUSADA to plan and coordinate testing under the supervision of international experts, a key step for the agency to be reinstated.
The Russian government this month approved a plan to curb the use of performance enhancing drugs, while President Vladimir Putin barred dopers and their coaches from receiving Kremlin grants.
The impact of the ban on athletes like Lasitskene is undeniable, however, tearing nearly a year and half out of their careers and preventing them from competing in the Olympics and lucrative Diamond League meetings last year.
"Had there been a 2016 season, maybe the results now would be different," Lasitskene said.
"But that's a 'what-if'. We accepted this situation, trained, didn't give up and everything is ok now."
Lasitskene is the only woman who has jumped 2.00 metres this year, clearing the height 10 times since the IAAF allowed her to compete in April.
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