Russian paralympics team banned from Winter Olympics in March for doping

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

An official from South Korea's Korea Paralympic Committee (KPC) said on Monday that the IPC board allowed two North Korean athletes and six officials to participate in the PyeongChang Paralympics.

The IPC claim they made the decision, taken following a two-day meeting of their Governing Board, to recognise the progress made in Russian Federation since they were banned from Paralympic competition prior to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

However, the IPC will allow Russian Para athletes, who meet strict conditions, to compete in five sports as neutrals at the Games which get under way in March.

The IPC said in a statement that "it is maintaining the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC)".

A total of 169 athletes are set to compete as part of a neutral "Olympic Athletes from Russia" team at the Winter Olympics. The country was also excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said that in 2016 "the anti-doping system in Russian Federation was found to be totally compromised, corrupted and open to abuse".

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.

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Beucher claimed the IPC had been influenced by external pressure to create a way in which Russian athletes can compete.

"We are very proud to be part of the change". They will wear uniforms without any national insignia, and fans will also be barred from waving Russian flags. The athletes recently took part in a cross-country skiing race in the World Cup in Germany.

The team of "Neutral Paralympic Athletes" will be about half the size of the Russian team that competed in Sochi in 2014.

Russians had been allowed to compete as neutral athletes in some qualifying events ahead of the games before a final decision, but that came too late for Russia to qualify in hockey. According to the IPC, "the Taskforce highlighted two criteria that are still outstanding: the full reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)" and "the provision of an official response specifically and adequately addressing the findings made by Professor McLaren".

"Under the supervision of WADA, we now have greater confidence that the anti-doping system in Russian Federation is no longer compromised or corrupted".

The Russian government denies ever supporting any doping programs.

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