Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Russia Will Support Its 'Neutral' Athletes At Winter Olympics, Says Mutko

Donna de Varona Donna de Varona
Preston Stone | 07 December, 2017, 16:25

South Korea's sports ministry said on Thursday that the ban on Russia participation is "regrettable", and urged Russian athletes to take part. The IOC said only individual athletes who've never violated anti-doping rules will be allowed to compete and without the Russian flag or national anthem. "We will not prevent our Olympic athletes from taking part if anyone wants to take part in a personal capacity".

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board suspended the national team of Russian Federation from participation in the Olympic games to be held in South Korea's Pyeongchang.

While the Kremlin denies the existence of any state-run doping program, Putin appeared to soften criticism of the investigation.

Tensions have been heating up on the Korean Peninsula after a two-month lull, with North Korea launching a missile last week that experts said showed the capability of hitting much of the continental United States.

Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko commented on the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned him for life to happen at the Olympic games.

It's acceptable for Russian athletes to compete under the IOC's terms, two-time gold medalist pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva said, according to Interfax.

Russia Will Support Its 'Neutral' Athletes At Winter Olympics, Says Mutko
US trip to Olympics uncertain amid North Korea threat, Haley says

"I think that this excuse was not used in an honest way, to put it mildly", Putin said without elaborating.

Medvedev was referring to a March presidential election in which incumbent Vladimir Putin is standing for re-election.

The bans came as the result of an International Olympic Committee investigation into allegations of state-backed doping among Russian competitors and sample tampering by laboratory and security officials at Sochi.

The Russian team has been stripped of 11 of the 33 medals it won at the $50 billion Sochi Games, the most expensive in history, because of doping violations, knocking it from first to fifth place in the overall medals ranking.

In another development on Wednesday, 22 Russians disqualified from Sochi 2014 for doping offences and banned from the Olympics filed appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. "Then punish those who are guilty", Putin said.

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