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Russia track and field doping ban remains

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MONACO (AP) — The IAAF extended its ban on Russia’s participation in international competitions on Tuesday, with no clarity on whether the suspension may be lifted before next year’s world championships in Qatar.

Sticking to a harder line than the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee, a meeting of the IAAF council wasn’t prepared to draw the line under the scandal of Russian doping and cover-ups.

The IAAF still has two remaining conditions for Russia to be reinstated. It wants the country to pay its substantial costs, including legal costs, incurred from dealing with the Russian doping crisis.

“This debt must be settled,” said Rune Andersen, who heads the IAAF taskforce dealing with Russia. While Russia has promised to pay, “We need to receive the money.”

The IAAF also is pressuring for its anti-doping unit to get access to data and drug-test samples from a Moscow laboratory that could help identify more Russian athletes suspected of doping.

“Russian athletes cannot return to international competition unconditionally until that such issue is resolved one way or another,” he said.

The lab data could reach the IAAF via the WADA, which has set a year-end deadline to receive it. Track and field’s anti-doping unit would then have to analyze the information to satisfy the IAAF that it “hasn’t been tampered with,” Andersen said.

Unclear was how long all this might take. IAAF President Sebastian Coe noted the next IAAF council meeting is scheduled for March. The world championships open in Doha in late September.

In a statement, Russian Athletics Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said “regulating our debts financially requires a lot of work and in-depth consideration. We need to draw up various legal documents and discuss the payment arrangements. We’re also talking with the IAAF about possibly paying in installments over six months.”

He also said providing WADA with access to the Moscow laboratory samples “will obviously take some time, we recognize that.”

The IAAF has allowed dozens of leading Russians to compete as neutrals if they can show an extensive history of passing drug tests. These include athletes such as Maria Lasitskene, who next year will look to defend the high jump world title she won in 2017.

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MORE: Russia Winter Olympic gold medalists face doping charges

IOC revokes shooting event status over Pakistan visa refusal

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee has revoked the Olympic qualification status of a 25-meter shooting event in New Delhi because Indian officials refused to grant entry visas to two Pakistani athletes and an official.

The IOC said Thursday it was informed on Monday that the Indian government authorities did not grant entry visas to the Pakistani delegation for the 25-meter rapid-fire pistol event at the ISSF World Cup, where two places at next year’s Tokyo Olympics were meant to be at stake.

The IOC said it only withdrew the Olympic qualification status from the competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. There are 500 athletes from 61 countries who are already in India for other World Cup events.

“Since becoming aware of the issue, and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) and the Indian NOC (National Olympic Committee), and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete,” the IOC said in a statement.

It did not say whether Pakistani athletes were entered in any other events at the competition.

In a statement to the Press Trust of India news agency, Rajeev Mehta, the secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association, said Friday the IOA would approach the government again about the visas.

“It is a dangerous situation for all sport in the county,” Mehta was quoted as saying. “In addition to not being able to host events in India, there may be problems for our athletes to take part in international events.”

The IOC said the situation goes against the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter to not discriminate against any athlete.

The visa refusal comes amid escalated tensions between the two countries following last week’s deadly suicide bombing in Kashmir against Indian paramilitary troops. At least 40 Indian soldiers were killed in Thursday’s attack, which New Delhi blamed on Islamabad.

Since independence from Britain in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which is divided between the two but claimed by each in its entirety.

Yevgenia Medvedeva wins Russian figure skating event to revive Worlds hope

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VELIKY NOVGOROD, Russia — Yevgenia Medvedeva beat Elizaveta Tuktamysheva in the Russian Cup final on Friday and boosted her hopes of a dramatic return to the Russia team for the world championships.

Despite a fall in the free skate, last year’s Olympic silver medalist scored 222.90 points to beat Tuktamysheva by just 1.71.

Medvedeva has struggled this season after moving to Canada to train, while Tuktamysheva started strongly in the autumn but was then hospitalized with pneumonia.

The Russian Cup was widely considered an unofficial skate-off for Russia’s third world championship slot next month alongside Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova and European champion Sofia Samodurova.

The skater likely to lose her spot is Stanislava Konstantinova, who followed up fourth at the European championships with another fourth-place finish on Friday.

MORE: Medvedeva’s coach Brian Orser says they’re on stand-by for Worlds spot

As a reminder, you can watch the world championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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