IOC decides on pool of clean Russian athletes for PyeongChang 2018

Updated: Jan 20, 2018, 14:30 IST | IANS

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided on a pool of clean athletes who are eligible to be invited by the global body to take part in the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018

Torchbearers 'kiss' with their torches to pass the Olympic flame in front of a military fence on the road leading to the border truce village of Panmunjom during the PyeongChang 2018 Torch Relay in Paju on January 19, 2018. North and South Korea have agreed to march together under a single flag at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, in the latest sign that the crisis on the peninsula may be easing. Pic/AFP
Torchbearers 'kiss' with their torches to pass the Olympic flame in front of a military fence on the road leading to the border truce village of Panmunjom during the PyeongChang 2018 Torch Relay in Paju on January 19, 2018. North and South Korea have agreed to march together under a single flag at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, in the latest sign that the crisis on the peninsula may be easing. Pic/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided on a pool of clean athletes who are eligible to be invited by the global body to take part in the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018. After weeks of intensive evaluation and consideration of each individual athlete from Russia, an independent Invitation Review Panel has concluded on a pool of clean athletes who can be invited to PyeongChang 2018 as an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR), reports Xinhua news agency. The invitations will be issued only at an OAR meeting on January 27 in PyeongChang, before which the list of the invited athletes cannot be published.

The original pool has some 500 athletes from Russia, but was earlier reduced by 111 by the panel. The IOC said that the remaining athletes in the original pool will also be considered for invitation if requirements, such as further pre-Games tests and re-analysis of their stored samples, are met. The IOC revealed that more than 80 percent of the athletes in this down-sized pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, which shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes.

The suspended Russian Olympic Committee can now start proposing which of the clean athletes can fill in the earned quota places by sport, discipline and event. It's still not possible to project how many athletes will participate in PyeongChang Games in the OAR group, as only a limited number of them can be chosen. Earlier in December, the IOC decided to ban Russia from the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, after an over-17-month IOC investigation "confirmed the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility."

But Russian athletes would still be able to compete at the PyeongChang Games in uniforms bearing the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia" under the Olympic Flag, and the Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony. Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov later slammed the IOC ban as "controversial." The Russian State Duma also approved a statement criticising the IOC decision.

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