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‘The murder of our national sport’: Russian athletes forced to compete under neutral flag

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Russian athletes are bitterly disappointment by the collective punishment and the option offered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which banned the Russian national team, while allowing only individual athletes to compete under a neutral flag and anthem.

Related Story : IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

On Tuesday, the IOC declared Russia guilty of alleged state-sponsored doping, and banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Athletes who can prove they are “clean,” however, will be allowed to compete, but not under the Russian flag.

The despair and bitter disappointment were clearly visible on the faces of Russian Olympic athletes in Davos Tuesday as the IOC announced their decision. Some stared down and others left the room soon after the directives were read out.

Those who can compete are now faced with a difficult choice. On the one hand, they spent years polishing their skills to perform on the world’s premier stage, but on the other hand, their sport spirit dictates they compete as a united national team, under the Russian flag.

Irina Avvakumova, a member of the ski jumping team, does not want to go to South Korea and perform under a neutral flag. “I do not know how other athletes will react, but I did not prepare for so many years to just go and compete without representing my country,” Avvakumova said, adding, that competing as neutral lack the “sports spirit.”

Russian snowboarder Nikolai Olyunin has not yet decided whether or not he is ready to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games under a neutral flag.

“The decision of the IOC did not shock me, it was all leading to this. We were ready,” Olyunin said, adding, that the snowboard federation will now wait and see how the situation develops further. “No one understands how to proceed further. I would like to compete for our flag, but at the same time, I understand that what has happened is a great disrespect to our country. I don’t want to compete under a neutral flag, but I still have to think about it.”

Russia

North Korea tensions can be settled by diplomatic means only – Lavrov

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Sergey Lavrov

The tensions on the Korean Peninsula can only be settled through political and diplomatic means in accordance with the Russian-Chinese roadmap, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

He made the statement after the 15th RIC (Russia, India and China) ministerial meeting in New Delhi, TASS reported. “We shared our opinions regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula, which remains extremely tense,” Lavrov noted.

“We pointed to the absence of an alternative to the solution of the specified problem solely by political and diplomatic means in line with the Russian-Chinese roadmap.”

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IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

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IOC

Geneva, Dec 6 : The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday that Russia is banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics set for next February in PyeongChang, South Korea, over doping concerns, Xinhua reported.

The IOC decided to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) with immediate effect, 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.

Samuel Schmid, former Swiss president entitled to lead the investigation commission, said an over-17-month IOC investigation has “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”.

“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “As an athlete myself, I’m feeling very sorry for all the clean athletes.”

The IOC “has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” he added.

But Russia has denied state-sponsored doping scheme alleged by WADA report.

The Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement earlier in November that “The investigation had obtained data that WADA lacked any evidence of Russia’s guilt in the mass use of doping by athletes.”

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Most resilient team will win 2018 FIFA World Cup: Putin

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vladimir-putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that the nation showing the most resilience will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“The most coveted trophy will be won by the team showing the most resilience. I would like to wish success to all the teams and I call upon all loyal fans to come to Russia and enjoy the finals of 2018,” Putin said during the official 2018 FIFA World Cup draw at the Kremlin State Palace here.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who was also present at the ceremony, thanked the Russian people for working hard to bring the FIFA World Cup to their country.

“Thank you to all the Russian people who have worked hard over the last seven years to bring us one step further to the final tournament. Thanks to all 11 Host Cities who are doing a tremendous job,” Infantino said.

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