Moscow - Sixty-seven Russian athletes are planning to apply to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete at the Olympic Games despite their country's suspension, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Saturday.
"Tomorrow 67 Russian athletes will submit their individual requests to participate in the Olympic Games, which they have the right to," Mutko told Russian television.
The IAAF Council decided last week to maintain the suspension of Russia after findings of drug test violations, including ignored positives and altered test results.
But clean athletes could still compete in Rio if they can prove they have not been tainted by the disgraced Russian system.
The figure of 67, however, seems unrealistic as they IAAF have strict criteria for those who want to compete in Rio, limiting applications to athletes who train outside Russia, which would exclude pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva, or 110m hurdles world champion Sergey Shubenkov.
"It will be a huge failure for me if the entire Russian team is excluded," said Mutko. "I'm ready to assume my responsibilities and resign."
Athletes must submit their application at least two weeks before the event they want to compete in with the Olympics getting underway on August 5.
The applications will then be submitted to a "Doping Review Board" which will examine the validity of their claims.