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Russian sports minister cautious about IOC decision to bar Russia from 2018 Olympics

December 06, 7:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"Fair competition has always remained the basis for developing sports in our country," he said

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Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov

©  AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Tuesday it was "too early" to comment on the "controversial" decision by the International Olympic Committee to bar the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

"The decision is controversial. Nevertheless, this is the official position, not just assumptions," he said. "Fair competition has always remained the basis for developing sports in our country. However, it will be too early to give detailed comments before official documents regarding the results of the IOC board meeting are scrutinized."

The IOC announced on Tuesday its decision to suspend membership of the Russian Olympic Committee, effectively banning the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang. Doping-free athletes from Russia were permitted to compete in the status of neutral athletes.

In addition, the IOC resolved not to accredit any official from the Russian Ministry of Sport for the PyeongChang Games.

"The issue of my presence at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang is the least of my concerns. Russian athletes are what really matters," Kolobkov said.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang between February 9 and 25.

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