Three-times world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene has claimed that even if Russia wins its appeal against the latest World Anti-Doping Agency sanctions, its track and field athletes will remain out in the cold.
Speaking live on Radio Kosomolskaya Pravda, Lasistskene - who won her last two world titles as an Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) who had passed required anti-doping tests - strongly criticised the actions of those formerly in charge of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), which have led to renewed sanctions by World Athletics.
"Even if Russia wins this trial, athletics will still remain the poorest, and everyone will regret us, and again do not know what to do with us," she said, pointing out that athletics was "in principle removed from its federation".
World Athletics announced last month that it had put the system of allowing Russian athletes to compete on an ANA basis "on hold", and had also frozen the reinstatement process for RusAF for further "serious anti-doping breaches".
RusAF has until January 2 to respond to charges against officials accused of obstructing an anti-doping investigation into world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko, uncovered following a 15-month investigation.
The scandal toppled former RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin, replaced on an acting basis by Yulia Tarasenko, and prompted World Athletics to warn it was considering expelling the embattled organisation.
Tarasenko claimed earlier this month that she still expects Russian track and field competitors to participate as neutrals at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, despite a series of sanctions imposed on the country by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
But Lasitskene does not appear to share Tarasenko’s optimism.
"We were admitted to the World Championships in neutral status,” Lasitskene said.
"I won the last two Championships in neutral status.
"The national team is small, but these are the people who were allowed.
"In connection with the latest events that took place in our Federation, this was taken away from us.
"That is, the actions of the leadership of our Federation have led to the fact that we even had their neutral status recalled.
"For four years, this somehow continued and went even worse."
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) confirmed earlier this month that it will appeal the decision from the WADA to restrict the country's participation at major events, as punishment for the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory data.
RUSADA Supervisory Board chairman Alexander Ivlev announced the body would contest the range of sanctions handed down by WADA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Confirmation of the appeal - which has to be filed by Monday (December 30) - came on the same day as Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual press conference, where he claimed the sanctions from WADA were "unfair" and the decision "goes against common sense".
RUSADA was declared non-compliant by the WADA Executive Committee, triggering a four-year package of punishments, including a ban on the Russian flag at the Olympic Games and World Championships.
Russia is also set to be stripped of World Championships it has been awarded and the country has been barred from bidding for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Lasitskene: Even if Russia wins the CAS, nothing will change for russian athletics. Everyone in our country will feel sorry about us, but again no one will know what to do with us.@insidethegames https://t.co/OTdPBSbTqh— Vladas Lasitskas (@VladasLasitskas) December 23, 2019
However, Russian athletes – other than those competing in track and field - who can prove they had no involvement in the doping scandal or the cover-up will be able to compete at major events as neutrals.
The implementation of the sanctions, imposed after WADA found data from the Moscow Laboratory had been tampered with before it was handed to the global watchdog in January, will be delayed following confirmation of the RUSADA appeal at CAS.
They will only come into force once CAS makes its final ruling in a case which is likely to drag on towards next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.