Several Russian athletes including star high jumper Maria Lasitskene on Wednesday called on sporting authorities to pay a $5 million fine to allow them to take part in the Tokyo Olympics.
In March, World Athletics fined Russia’s track and field federation $10 million for breaching anti-doping rules.
The system of allowing Russian athletes to take part as neutrals will be suspended if $5 million of the $10 million fine is not paid by July 1, World Athletics has warned.
World Athletics spokesperson Nicole Jeffery said Wednesday Russia were yet to settle its debt.
“The fine has not been paid,” Jeffery told AFP.
In an open letter posted on Instagram, Lasitskene, hurdler Sergey Shubenkov and pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova urged Russia’s athletics federation (RUSAF) to settle the issue and explain whether Russian athletes would be able to compete in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
“Three weeks before the deadline set by World Athletics we are under the impression that Russian athletes will once again miss not only the upcoming international summer season but also the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” they said.
“RUSAF’s failure to fulfil its obligations will lead to the ultimate exclusion of Russian track and field athletes from the international federation and therefore strip them of even the smallest chance to compete in the upcoming Olympics,” the letter said.
“We don’t want to put our careers on the line once again,” the athletes said.
Russia has been suspended by World Athletics since 2015 over repeated doping scandals and has been fighting for readmission.
The last report by World Athletics’ Task Force, in November, led to its decision-making Council suspending the process of reinstating RUSAF over charges against its officials that they obstructed an anti-doping investigation.
The Council also put a freeze on the system of allowing Russian athletes to compete as “Authorised Neutral Athletes”.
World Athletics has capped at 10 the number of Russians allowed to compete as neutrals at the Tokyo Olympics.