PyeongChang welcomes IPC's decision on Russian para athletes

Russian athletes who meet

Russian fans banned from waving flags at PyeongChang Paralympics The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned Russian fans from waving the national tricolor at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics following the organization's decision to keep Russia's suspension in force.

The IPC received an update on the Russian Paralympic Committee's progress towards being reinstated on Saturday, in the wake of its suspension for a state-sponsored doping programme at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

"The IPC has shown great leadership and determination to protect clean Paralympic athletes around the world and the integrity of the Paralympic Games".

Each Russian Paralympian who is approved to compete, he said, will be identified in competition as a "Neutral Paralympic Athlete".

The latest IPC ruling is similar to the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month.

They will compete in five sports - Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, snowboard and wheelchair curling - providing they meet the IPC guidelines.

The Russians who will be allowed to compete must have undergone extra testing and a course of anti-drug education.

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IPC President Andrew Parsons said "between 30 and 35" Russian athletes are to take part as neutrals due to "significant progress" from Russia's Paralympic Committee.

"A start of athletes from Russian Federation after the fall of Sochi is, in our view, a slap in the face of clean athletes and tamper-free sports structures". There will be also no Russian flag permitted at any venue during the Paralympics.

"Under the supervision of WADA, we now have greater confidence that the anti-doping system in Russian Federation is no longer compromised or corrupted". Russian Para athletes were now regularly tested and "amongst the most scrutinised Para athletes in the world", he said.

"If we take into account that our Paralympians could have been banned from the event, this is a victory", he said.

"We will welcome all athletes that are eligible to compete and meet the criteria set out by the IPC".

"Pyeongchang is committed to delivering a Winter Games that is clean, fair and open to all eligible athletes".

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency says the IPC has made a decision to allow 2 male North Korean Nordic skiers to compete in the Games. "We have also witnessed behavioral and cultural changes".

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