Russian athletes banned from singing national anthem at hotels at London World Championships

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will not allow Russian athletes competing as neutrals at the 2017 World Championships in London to sing their national anthem at any venues associated with the event.

As 19 Russian athletes prepare to participate under a neutral flag at the World Athletics Championships in London from August 4 to 13, the IAAF has warned them to not display any identity with their country at the tournament.

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Alena Lutkovskaya © Eduardo Munoz

The regulations for the neutral athletes, which were modified on July 5, were published on the IAAF website.

“The national anthem of the country of the Neutral Athlete shall not be played or sung at any time within the vicinity of any venue associated with the event including but not limited to the competition venue, warm-up area, call room, training grounds and hotels,” says the official document.

“No flags, banners or posters bearing the national colors, name or flag of the country of the Neutral Athlete shall be taken into the vicinity of any venue associated with the event, including but not limited to the competition venue, warm-up area, call room, training grounds and hotels,” it adds.

Russian 110m hurdler Sergey Shubenkov told RT earlier in July that the restrictions over the national anthem and symbols also involve cell-phone ringtones.

“I understand that it might sound absurd, but we shouldn’t be surprised. It follows IAAF logic,” he said.

The ban also includes any sports uniforms with the colors of the national flag, and symbols of the country should not appear on athletes’ bodies.

READ MORE: Russian Sports Ministry introduces measures to battle doping

The IAAF suspended the Russian national athletics federation (RusAF) in the wake of a doping scandal in November 2015, following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report on an alleged state-sponsored doping program.

However, 49 Russian athletes – two in 2016 and 47 in 2017 – have been cleared to compete as neutrals, including 19 who have qualified to compete at the World Athletics Championships in London.

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