The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed on July, 9 that Russian long jump athlete Darya Klishina meets the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in International Competition as a neutral athlete.
Russia’s only athlete allowed to participate in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has been branded a traitor on social media.
The country’s track and field athletes were banned from competing in the upcoming Olympics in Brazil over allegations of mass doping. Long jumper Darya Klishina was granted permission by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete, as they announced she met “exceptional eligibility criteria” over the weekend.
On the 10 July, Klishina wrote on Facebook that she is “really happy” to be allowed to compete. The post was met with messages of support as well as a barrage of accusations of treachery.
Klishina will not technically be representing Russia at the Olympics and her Facebook page was flooded with comments accusing her of turning her back on her country and colleagues.
“You will not be getting any support from Russians,” one commenter declared, while another barked “change your flag to the American one.”
“You betrayed the Russian flag and they let you in,” a third commenter, whose message has acquired nearly 300 likes. “They need traitors.”
On the 11 July, popular Kremlin pool journalist Dmitry Smirnov compared Klishina’s action to that of Soviets who collaborated with the Nazis after being tempted by promises of instant gratification: “Hot food, rest, and medical attention await you in German captivity!” he wrote on Twitter.
Maxim Suraykin, leader of political party the Communists of Russia, told Moscow radio station Govorit Moskva that “it is perfectly reasonable (Klishina) should compete for Ukraine,” because of her lack of solidarity with Russian athletes.
Sergey Yepishin, another athletics coach for the Russian team, said he also partially agreed that thanking the IAAF is unacceptable, but told Russian magazine Sobesednik that he did not consider Klishina a traitor. “If she agrees to compete under the terms given to her (by the IAAF) she has every right to compete.”
Klishina told Russian state media that she did not consider herself a traitor and was hoping that the decision to ban Russian athletes is reversed.