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Russia set for medals at 2017 Universiade despite absence of track and field athletes

August 09, 18:52 UTC+3 LONDON

Russia will be represented in 20 sports

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© AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

LONDON, August 9. /TASS/. The Russian national team will be still fighting for medals at the upcoming 2017 Summer Universiade although the whole squad of national track and field athletes was not cleared for the international tournament, Sergey Seiranov, the president of the Russian Students Sport Union (RSSU), told TASS on Wednesday.

The 29th edition of the FISU Summer Universiade is scheduled to be held in Taiwan’s Taipei on August 19-30, 2017 and is featuring 14 compulsory disciplines, seven optional disciplines and one demonstration discipline (billiards). Seiranov told TASS earlier in the day that Russian track and field athletes would miss the international tournament in Taiwan this month.

"A total of 290 people will take off on a charter flight for the Universiade on August 14 and will be in Taipei on August 15," Seiranov said in an interview with TASS. "The overall number of people in our delegation is 517 including 348 athletes."

"We will be taking part in all sports competitions, except for track and field, and will be represented in 20 sports," the RSSU president said. "The sport of billiards will be held as a demonstration discipline and we are not taking part in it as well."

"Traditionally, the Russian national team sets the most ambitious tasks at the Universiade," Seiranov said. "We hope that despite our absence in the track and field competitions, which offer a great deal of medals, we will nevertheless fight for the first place (in the overall medals standings)."

FISU President Oleg Matytsin said earlier in the year that Russian track and fielders would be cleared for participating in the 2017 Summer Universiade if they complied with the requirements of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which suspended Russia’s membership in the organization in November 2015 over a host of doping scandals.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF, or often referred to as RusAF), told TASS on Wednesday that the RSSU simply failed to reach an agreement with the IAAF regarding Russia’s participation in the upcoming Universiade.

According to the official FISU website, the Summer Universiade is an international sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two years in a different city. The name of the international sports event is a combination of two words, which are ‘University’ and ‘Olympiad.’

It is only second to the Olympic Games. The Summer Universiade consists of 10 compulsory sports with 13 compulsory disciplines and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country.

The first Summer Universiade was held in Italy’s Turin in 1959 and the most recent in 2015 in the South Korean city of Gwangju.

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