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IOC’s decision not to invite cleared Russian athletes to Olympics inexplicable — lawmaker

February 05, 11:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the lawmaker, the country needs to continue defending the good names of its athletes

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MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made an inexplicable decision not to invite 13 Russian athletes, cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), to the PyeongChang Olympic Games, member of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee on Physical Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs Dmitry Svishchev told TASS.

The IOC earlier issued a statement declining a request to send invitations to the Games to 13 Russian athletes and two coaches cleared by CAS.

"It is difficult to comment on this decision because it is inexplicable, beyond comprehension," Svishchev said. "CAS has ruled that our athletes are clean, so the IOC had to allow them to participate in the Games. I just compare facts: on the day the court announced its ruling, news came that the US authorities suspect a number of international sports organizations, including the IOC and FIFA, of being corrupt. I think, [IOC President] Mr. Thomas Bach has faced some pressure and the IOC failed to resist the blow, which was the reason for its decision. I believe it is an outright large-scale pressure on our country," the lawmaker added.

According to Svishchev, the country needs to continue defending the good names of its athletes.

"An appeal may definitely be filed against this decision, but our athletes have only a few days to be allowed to compete at the Games," Svishchev pointed out. "I am in contact with presidents of our sports federations and I know that they will continue to protect the interests of our athletes. There is also a need to return their titles and medals, we cannot retreat when we are halfway there. Athletes need to get their good names back, their lives go on," he added.

The Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang will be held on February 9-25.

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