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IOC votes to lift Russia ban if no further doping violations

Online Desk

25 Feb 2018 00:37 AM । Update: 25 Feb 2018 00:37 AM

The Olympic athletes from Russia team paraded under the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony, and will do so at the closing ceremony at 11:00 GMT

Russia's Olympic ban will be lifted if there are no further doping violations from their athletes at Pyeongchang 2018, the International Olympic Committee has voted unanimously.

However, the IOC says Russian athletes will not be allowed to parade under their own flag at the closing ceremony.

Russia was banned because of state-sponsored doping at Sochi 2014, BBC reports.

A team of 168 competed in South Korea as neutral Olympic athletes from Russia (OAR) but two failed drugs tests.

Alexander Krushelnitsky won bronze in the mixed curling but was stripped of his medal after being found guilty of doping while Nadezhda Sergeeva, who competed in bobsleigh, was banned on Saturday.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the failed tests were "very disappointing and prevented the IOC from considering lifting the ban for the closing ceremony".

But referring to the two positive tests, he added: "There is no evidence of systemic doping and no evidence of the involvement of the Russian Olympic Committee in these cases."

The decisions on Russia's ban and the closing ceremony were made at the 132nd IOC session in Pyeongchang where the 52 members present backed recommendations from the IOC's executive board.

The session heard from Nicole Hoevertsz, the head of an implementation group which reported to the IOC on the OAR delegation's "exemplary" behaviour in Pyeongchang.

"We have to draw a line and look towards the future," Hoevertsz said.

"We need to bring this story to an end and look forward. It is never going to be business as usual in sport again or in Russia."

When the IOC announced Russia's ban in December, Bach said the hosts' doping at the Sochi 2014 Games "was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".

Only athletes who proved they were clean were able to compete in Pyeongchang for OAR, whose team was the third largest at the Games and has won 16 medals, including one gold. 

Samakal English

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