New Delhi: As the moment of truth for doping maligned Russian athletics approaches, it's most recognisable champion pleaded the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) not to suspend her country.
Yelena Isinbayeva, a double Olympic pole vault champion, on Friday wrote an open letter to the world athletics body not to punish honest Russian athletes in response to doping allegations.
In the letter, which was published in the Russian Athletics website, the 33-year-old world record holder wrote that "the situation the Russian National team is in now is very sad but I ask you not to treat all the athletes in the same negative way."
She claimed that any ban would be unfair on clean athletes, including herself, who could miss out on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics due to the actions of others.
"To ban innocent and not connected to that doping scandal athletes from competing in international events and Olympic Games in Rio is not fair. I hope for the wisdom of the leaders of the IAAF," she added.
Isinbayeva is hoping to win a third gold medal next year in Brazil, before retiring and standing for election to the IOC Athletes' Commission.
"And I believe that the correct decision will be taken. Those who are guilty will pay their price, and those who are innocent will have the opportunity to compete and represent our country in a dignified manner at all international sports arenas," he continued.
A meeting of the IAAF will be held later today to decide whether to suspend the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), and a ban would meant non-participation of the one of the strongest track and field teams in the showpiece event in Brazil.