Olympic champion high jumper Maria Lasitskene on Thursday called on the head of the International Olympic Committee to lift the sanctions imposed against Russian athletes over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The IOC issued guidance to sports governing bodies in February to remove Russians and Belarusians from competition after Russia sent troops into Ukraine. Most international federations followed the recommendation.

Lasitskene, who is also a three-time world champion, said in an impassioned open letter that her Russian passport was being used as a "trump card" by World Athletics, the sport's governing body, at the behest of IOC President Thomas Bach.