February 22, 2019

Klishina, Russia’s sole athlete, qualifies for long jump final

Russia`s Dariya Klishina competes in the Women`s Long Jump Qualifying Round

Darya Klishina, the sole Russian athlete allowed to compete at the Rio Games in the wake of the doping scandal that has rocked track and field, has daubed her “warpaint” as she bids for Olympic long jump glory.
Klishina comfortably made it through to Wednesday’s final of the women’s long jump, going out to 6.64m on her first attempt in qualifying.
The Russian said she was grateful to be back competing after a stressful week.
Klishina won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Sunday after a last-minute decision by athletics’ governing body the IAAF to exclude her after getting new information about her doping samples.
“Last week it was really tough, a hard week for me mentally,” said the former European indoor champion.
“I was just waiting for the decision, I couldn’t practise, I just did warm-up, but now I’m focusing on my jumps, I just want to get positive emotions.”
Klishina was intially cleared to compete for Russia on the grounds that she is based in Florida and was not subject to the flawed Russian anti-doping system but had undergone regular international doping tests.
Her coach Loren Seagrave said she felt Klishina’s energy come flooding back after she was given the green light by CAS.
“We got the notification at 4:30 in the morning-I ran over and banged on her door. I said ‘You’re going to be angry that I got you up at five in the morning but we won’,” he said.
“And I could just feel the energy come back into her body and start to put her warpaint on and get ready.”
Klishina admitted that it was tough to be in Rio as the sole Russian athlete, a situation she called “irregular”.
“It is very hard being the only Russian, as normally we are a big team with big support,” she said.
“It’s an irregular situation, I’d like to have a big Russian team around me as usual. Unfortunately I’m here alone and it’s a great responsibility.
“I want the Russian team here with me.”
But she added: “I’m happy that I’m here at the Olympic Games, it’s my first Olympic Games and this is a really great experience for me.”
Klishina said the reaction of other jumpers had been very positive.
“It’s been a good reaction,” she said.
“I’ve had good support from the girls because everybody was asking me ‘are you going to jump, are you going to jump?’ and when I said yes after I finally knew the decision they were very happy about it.”
After a day of hearings Sunday, the CAS special anti-doping tribunal announced in the early hours of Monday that Klishina’s appeal had succeeded and she “remained eligible to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio”.
Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren provided new evidence to the IAAF about Klishina last week that led to the withdrawal of her Rio eligibility on Friday.
The new evidence concerned two urine sample bottles that had been tampered with. One contained two different DNA sets.
The CAS said that despite the evidence, Klishina met the IAAF testing criteria to compete in Rio.
The McLaren report for the World Anti-Doping Authority accused the Russian government of “state-sponsored” doping including by tampering with the samples of Russian athletes.
Seagrave said it had been tough on his Russian charge, who had already been subjected to doping tests in Rio.
“She was selected a couple of days ago,” he said. “She submitted a urine sample, a blood sample for biological passport. This is not commonplace, it’s typically one or the other.”
He added: “It’s taken its toll. She was great on the runway and that was our goal tonight-hit the board on the first jump. She started to get her speed going and had two medium fouls.”
Klishina passed under the radar of the crowd, but that could change come the final.
“Tomorrow night her name will be read out-she feels confident in herself and I don’t think a positive or negative crowd is going to affect how she performs,” Seagrave said.

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