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ROC president thanks South Korean legislators for supporting Russian athletes

December 14, 2017, 18:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The upcoming Olympics, which are 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25

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MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Alexander Zhukov has expressed gratitude to South Korean parliamentarians for backing Russian athletes on the issue of participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, the press service of ROC reported on Thursday.

On Thursday, a meeting with a delegation from the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea was held at the Russian Olympic Committee to discuss the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympics following Russia's suspension from the PyoengChang Games.

"Russia is a great sports nation, and the Olympic Games would be incomplete without your athletes. We are looking forward to seeing Russian athletes in PyeongChang and will support them at the stadiums or in front of TV screens," said National Assembly’s Choo Mi-ae.

"Many among our fans are ready to dress in Russian folk costumes and support Russians at the competitions with flags in their hands," said Choo Mi-ae, who is chairwoman of the liberal Democratic Party.

"The more Russian tricolor flags will be seen in the spectator stands, the better. Athletes always feel the mood of the stadium drawing additional strength from this. I know Korea’s position on the participation of our national team in the 2018 Olympics, and taking advantage of the opportunity, I would like to thank for their support the National Olympic Committee of South Korea, the 2018 Organizing Committee and esteemed deputies of the National Assembly," Alexander Zhukov said.

The IOC Executive Board IOC announced its decision on December 5 to suspend the whole Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to determine Russian athletes, who will have the right to go to 2018 PyeongChang under the neutral status.

The Executive Board of the IOC also announced last week that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was to reimburse the costs incurred by the IOC for the probes and to contribute to the establishment of an Independent Testing Authority (ITA), which carries a price tag of $15 million.

The world’s governing Olympic body stated that not only did it ban Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko and ex-Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh from attending all Olympic events in their official capacities, but it also yanked the membership of the ROC and its President Zhukov. A number of additional sanctions against other Russian sports officials followed from the IOC as well.

The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism expressed regrets over this decision. Choo Mi-ae said the South Korean side will oppose the IOC’s decision. It also became known after her meeting with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin that South Korea was planning to create a group of support for the Russian athletes at the Olympic Games.

The upcoming Olympics, which are 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.

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