Eighteen Russian athletes, including Maria Lasitskene, have been approved for 2018 ©IAAF

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have announced that 18 Russian athletes have met theit eligibility criteria to compete at international competitions as neutral athletes.

Eighty-eight Russian athletes had applied for Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) status by the December 31 deadline after the Russian Athletics Federation's (RusAF) suspension was held up by the IAAF in November.

The IAAF Doping Review Board, consisting of Robert Hersh, Sylvia Barlaq and Antti Pihlakoski, have accepted the applications of discus throwers Viktor Butenko and Yuliya Malteseva, as well as hammer throwers Danila Danilov, Sofiya Palkina and Aleksei Sokyrskii. 

Triple jumpers Alexey Fedorov, Viktoriya Prokopenko and Irina Gumenyuk have also been accepted alongside pole vaulters Alyona Lutkovskaya, Ilya Mudrov, Olga Mullina and Anzhelika Sidorova and high jumpers Maria Lasitskene and Danil Lysenko. 

Sprinters Vyacheslav Kolesnichenko, Alaina Mamina and Polina Miller, and shot put athlete Alexander Lesnoy, complete the list.

All 18 athletes were also given ANA status in 2017, making it unclear whether the remaining 70 applications have been processed by the IAAF Doping Review Board.

RusAF had commented as recently as January 23 that their athletes were yet to hear an update on their applications to the IAAF.

Alyona Lutkovskaya is one of 18 athletes to have her application approved ©Getty Images
Alyona Lutkovskaya is one of 18 athletes to have her application approved ©Getty Images

On today's decision IAAF President Sebastian Coe implied that the process was not finished.

"Throughout this process, we have continued to support the aspirations of all clean athletes to participate in our major competitions," he said.

"With access to new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency at the end of last year the Doping Review Board is assessing all applications against this information as well as existing information.

"It is a complex and lengthy process and once again, I wish to thank the Doping Review Board and the Athletics Integrity Unit for their dedication and diligence to the task at hand."

RusAF have been suspended by the IAAF since November 2015 after the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Independent Commission uncovered widespread doping offences.

The country competed under the ANA banner at last year's World Championships in London.

The World Indoor Championships will be held in English city Birmingham between March 2 and 4.