Russian athletes cleared to compete under neutral flag | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.01.2018

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Russian athletes cleared to compete under neutral flag

The IOC has confirmed that 169 Russian athletes have been invited to compete under a neutral flag at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Russia has been barred from representation after a 2015 doping scandal.

"Today the IOC officially registered the lists of athletes and the Russian delegation in their system," Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the head of the Russian Olympic delegation, told Russian news agency TASS. "Henceforth, they are de facto in it and can get accredited."

The 169 athletes, who will compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia," have been chosen from an initial pool of 389 sportsmen and women and have been cleared of suspicion of doping by two vetting panels.

"It is in the interest of the IOC to guarantee a fair competition and it is also in the interest of Russia to only permit clean athletes to compete in Pyeongchang," said IOC president Thomas Bach on Wednesday, adding that the young athletes allowed to compete have the chance to be "ambassadors for a new, clean Russia."

Russia, who hosted the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, has officially been banned from the Olympics after following a scandal involving a state-sponsored doping effort. As part of the aftermath, 11 Russian athletes received lifetime bans

Read more: Russia to analyze IOC Olympic ban before deciding on next step

With 169 athletes competing as "Olympic Athletes from Russia," the unofficial Russian delegation numbers only 45 athletes less than the Russian team at Sochi in 2014, and the number of Russian athletes in Pyeongchang could yet increase.

In the coming days, the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) could lift 39 life-long Olympic bans. Appeals have been under discussion since Monday with a decision expected to be reached on Sunday and announced by the end of next week.

mf/dv (dpa/sid)