Cheboksary - Pole vault legend Yelena
Isinbayeva defiantly claimed all hope of competing at the Rio Olympics is not
lost after posting a world leading mark in the Russian Championships on
Russian track and field athletes are banned
from the Games in August unless they can prove they have not been tainted by
the disgraced Russian system.
Isinbayeva has threatened to sue world
athletics governing body the IAAF over the Olympic ban - imposed due to state
sponsored doping and mass corruption - and she stressed on Tuesday that she
hasn't thrown in the towel.
"Today I have to admit that deep down
there is hope. It hasn't died completely," said the 34-year-old twice
Olympic and three-time world champion, who cleared 4.90-metres in Cheboksary.
"We still have to fight to compete at
the Olympics in Rio. We have to file our case in court now.
"If I win my case at CAS (Court of
Arbitration for Sport), that will mean I am allowed to compete."
Isinbayeva also praised International
Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach after he said earlier on Tuesday
that any Russian athletes at the Games would compete under their own flag,
contradicting claims made by the IAAF at the weekend when they confirmed the
Russian ban, which was first imposed in November, would remain in place.
"The most pleasant thing for me
personally today is that all athletes who win their cases will compete under
the Russian flag. That's a victory," added Isinbayeva.
"I was desperate yesterday, but I'm
very optimistic today.
"The president of the International
Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, turned out to be, if not humane, but
"Now it means that the end of my
career, I hope, will be in Rio."
The IAAF offered an olive branch to Russian
athletes provided they can meet certain strict criteria in terms of the fight
World champion 110m hurdler Sergey
Shubenkov, who won his event at the Russian Championships in Cheboksary, said
he hopes to be able to compete in Rio.
"I feel fantastic, we are competing,
jumping hurdles, hurrah! It's super!" he exclaimed.
"I wanted to say a lot of things about
this (the IAAF situation) but all this is not important anymore. Of course it's
good that this leaves us a chance. There are lots of conditions from what I
understand but I hope that I will comply with them."
One athlete who is likely to comply is
Florida-based long jumper Darya Klishina.
She won her national championship with a
leap of 6.84m and then said she was delighted to hear that Russians, if they
qualify, could at least compete for their country and not be forced to fly a
"I read the news this morning,"
Klishina told reporters on Tuesday.
"I was not only happy for myself but
for the other athletes who will be able to compete at the Olympics in spite of
Klishina said she was still unclear on
which procedures she needed to complete to apply for a chance to compete in
Rio, but said her coach and agent would look into it.
But the head of Russia's athletics
federation, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, said on Monday that being based abroad should
count in Klishina's favour.
The 25-year-old, a two-time European indoor
champion, said that her preparation for Rio had been hindered by the IAAF
Since then, Russian athletes have been
barred from taking part in international track and field meets alongside the
"When you don't feel this competition,
it's very difficult," she said. "We can say that they are letting us
compete without preparation for the Olympic Games."
Klishina said she was flying to the United
States later this week to resume her pre-Olympic preparation at the prestigious
IMG Academy, which is known for producing elite golfers and tennis players.