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MOSCOW, September 6. /TASS/. The Russian Sports Ministry has been anticipating a decision made earlier in the day by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to extend Russia’s suspension in the global body, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS on Wednesday.
IPC President Sir Philip Craven announced on Wednesday during a news conference in Abu Dhabi that although the global Paralympic body acknowledged Russia’s significant progress in the implementation of the membership reinstatement criteria, the suspension would remain in force.
"We are currently considering this decision," Kolobkov said in an interview with TASS. "We were prepared for such scenario."
"We will soon analyze this situation jointly with the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) and will come up with a common stance," the Russian sports minister added.
Today’s IPC decision jeopardizes further chances of Russia’s participation in the Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang next year.
The IPC president said that only seven criteria were left for the RPC to implement with two of them having a special priority as they were interlinked.
"Two criteria - the full reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the acknowledgment and acceptance of the McLaren Report - are interlinked and now extremely critical," Sir Philip Craven said.
Craven said, however, that Russian Para-athletes were granted the right to take part in the qualifying tournaments for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea in the neutral status.
"In recognition of the fact that the RPC only has seven criteria still to meet, the Board has put in place a limited interim measure for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in qualification events across four sports for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games," Craven said. "This is with immediate effect and subject to Russian athletes meeting certain conditions that we have published."
"The winter World Para Sports where Russian athletes meeting the pre-determined conditions will be allowed to compete as neutrals are alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboard," according to the IPC head. "Under the sport rules for Para ice hockey, Russia has already missed the opportunity to qualify for PyeongChang 2018."
The 22nd Paralympic Winter Games are scheduled to be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang between February 9 and 25, 2018.