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Final decision on Russia next week


LONDON. – A final decision on whether Russian athletes will compete under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics will be made next week. The International Olympic Committee says Russian sports federations and athletes will meet on December 12. The Russian Olympic Committee was banned from the Pyeongchang Games by the IOC on Tuesday for doping offences.

But IOC president Thomas Bach said he hoped clean athletes would “seize the opportunity” to compete in South Korea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already said the state will not stand in the way of athletes wanting to go to the Games in February.

Russia implemented a state-sponsored doping programme involving 1,000 athletes across 30 sports from 2011-2015, leading to the ban. But in announcing the sanction on Tuesday, the IOC also stressed it had a clear pathway for clean athletes to compete as individuals.

Bach, who was addressing reporters in Lausanne 24 hours after that punishment was announced, said those competing under the name Olympic Athlete of Russia (OAR) would represent “a new generation of clean Russian athletes”. – BBC Sport.

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