Pole vault legend Yelena Isinbayeva defiantly claimed all hope of competing at the Rio Olympics is not lost after posting a world leading mark in the Russian Championships.
Russian track and field athletes are banned from the Games in August unless they can prove they have not been tainted by the disgraced Russian system.
Isinbayeva has threatened to sue world athletics governing body the IAAF over the Olympic ban imposed due to state sponsored doping and mass corruption – and she stressed on Tuesday that she hasn’t thrown in the towel.
“ I have to admit that deep down there is hope. It hasn’t died completely,” said the 34-year-old twice Olympic and three-time world champion, who cleared 4.90-metres in Cheboksary.
“We still have to fight to compete at the Olympics in Rio. We have to file our case in court now.
“If I win my case at CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport), that will mean I am allowed to compete.”
Isinbayeva also praised International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach after he said earlier on Tuesday that any Russian athletes at the Games would compete under their own flag, contradicting claims made by the IAAF at the weekend when they confirmed the Russian ban, which was first imposed in November, would remain in place.
“The most pleasant thing for me personally today is that all athletes who win their cases will compete under the Russian flag. That’s a victory,” added Isinbayeva.
“I was desperate yesterday, but I’m very optimistic today.
“The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, turned out to be, if not humane, but sober-minded.
“Now it means that the end of my career, I hope, will be in Rio.”
The IAAF offered an olive branch to Russian athletes provided they can meet certain strict criteria in terms of the fight against doping.

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