May 20, 2018

Russian Federation to field 30-35 athletes in Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics

30 January 2018, 01:28 | Rufus Hill

Russia's team has been banned from the upcoming Pyeongchang Paralympics because of its doping past

Russia's team has been banned from the upcoming Pyeongchang Paralympics because of its doping past

Paralympic organizers said on Monday they would let some Russians compete as neutrals at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in March, but upheld a ban on Moscow fielding a national team.

Chelsey Gotell, the Chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council, was less diplomatic in her comments about Russia, though she applauded the decision to allow Russian Para athletes to compete as neutrals.

Russian Federation was suspended by the IPC in August 2016 following revelations of widespread state-sponsored doping.

That mirrors the situation for next month's Olympics. Olympic officials have approved individual Russian athletes to be identified by their nationality, as "Olympic athlete from Russia".

"This made it impossible to determine which Russian Para athletes were clean and which were not; it was clear that Russia's participation in Para sport events would severely question the integrity and credibility of sporting competition".

No one implicated "knowingly or unknowingly by the numerous anti-doping investigations in Russia" can take part, Parsons said.

This is around half of the 69 who competed for the host nation at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi.

Nonetheless, those officials said, certain disabled Russian athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the coming Winter Games - a decision taken with some disagreement among top Paralympics executives, who were unanimous in their decision not to lift the ban.

The Pyeongchang Paralympics will take place between March 8 to 18.

According to TASS news agency, the IPC Governing Board considered the issue of restoring the status of Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) during a two-day meeting between January 26 and 27, based on the recent observations made by the IPC. "We have also witnessed behavioral and cultural changes". The IPC says it expects 30 to 35 neutral athletes to take part.

"However, we agree with the IPC's assertion that further advances are still needed to ensure the Russian Paralympic Committee fully comply with both the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code".

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