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Russian Paralympians advised against flying colors of national flag at qualifiers

September 07, 20:42 UTC+3 ABU-DHABI

The IPC President said earlier that the global Paralympic body ruled in favor of extending the current suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee in the international organization

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ABU-DHABI, September 7. /TASS/. Russia’s Paralympians, who have been cleared to compete in the qualifying tournaments for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in the status of neutral athletes, will be advised against any manifestations of the national flag colors during competitions, Craig Spence, a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) told TASS on Thursday.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven announced on Wednesday that the global Paralympic body ruled in favor of extending the current suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) in the international organization.

The IPC president also added that despite the suspension, Russian Para athletes would be allowed to take part in the qualifying tournaments ahead of the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea, but only in the neutral status.

"There will be no national colors allowed, just the neutral colors," Spence said in an interview with TASS when asked about the permitted apparel for Russian Para athletes to wear during the qualifiers. "Everything has to be neutral."

The IPC spokesman also said that in case any Russian Para athlete would win in his or her respective competition to step on the pedestal, the official Paralympic anthem would be played to honor the winner, instead of the Russian national anthem.

"The anthems would not be allowed," Spence said. "If for example a neutral athlete wins a medal and that anthem that is played is the Paralympic Anthem."

Similar regulations were applied by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in regard to Russia’s track and field athletes this summer, when the international federation cleared them for the 2017 World Championships in London in the status of neutral athletes.

Nineteen Russian track and field athletes were cleared to take part in the 2017 IAAF World Championships, which was held in London between August 4 and 13. However, they were allowed to compete as neutral athletes as the ARAF’s (All-Russia Athletics Federation) membership in the IAAF was suspended.

Russian track and field athletes were banned from wearing gear of the national team or wear any apparel symbolizing the Russian flag at competitions. The same rules applied to the escorting staff of the Russian national team in London.

Athletes from Russia competing in the ANA (Authorized Neutral Athlete) capacity at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London won a total of six medals, namely one gold and five silvers.

Addressing a news conference in Abu-Dhabi on Wednesday, IPC President Sir Philip Craven announced that Russian Para athletes were cleared to enter the qualifying tournaments in four sports, namely alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboard.

The 22nd Paralympic Winter Games are scheduled to be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang between February 9 and 25, 2018.

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