MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Russian athletes continue preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in in line with the initially approved schedule, although they were required recently to compete in PyeongChang under a neutral status, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Friday.
The Collegium of the Russian Ministry of Sports gathered for a session on Friday in Moscow, where Minister Kolobkov commented on the recent decisions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to bar the Russian national team from the 2018 Olympics and allow individual national athletes to compete in South Korea under a neutral flag.
"Everyone knows well about the decisions made by the IOC and the Olympic Assembly (of the Russian Olympic Committee), which require Russian athletes to travel to PyeongChang under the flag of the IOC," Kolobkov said.
"The situation concerning the admittance of our athletes to the Games has been for months in public focus both in Russia and abroad," he said. "However, we carried on with the preparations for the Olympics in line with the initial schedule and we all know now what we can hope for in the light of the recent IOC requirements."
The Olympic Assembly, which has the governing authority with the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC), said in its statement on Tuesday that it called for respecting "each individual athlete’s choice and for furnishing support for the athletes who will go to the Games, those who will refuse and those who will not be invited."
On Monday, a commission of ROC athletes issued a common statement on behalf of Russia’s winter sports athletes explaining their stance in favor of participation in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang under the neutral flag.
The Executive Board of the IOC announced its decision on December 5 to suspend the 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 could go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’