MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. Russian ski jumper Irina Avvakumova has good chances for winning a medal at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which kick off this Friday in South Korea, Roman Kerov, the head coach of the Russian neutral ski jumping team, told TASS on Wednesday.
The team of Russian women ski jumping team, which will be participating in the upcoming Olympics under the neutral flag, departed to South Korea on Tuesday. The team consists of Irina Avvakumova, Sofia Tikhnova, Alexandra Kustova and Anastasia Barannikova.
"Speaking about the results, our ideal planning for Avvakumova was to enter the top three, and our unfavorable forecast was for her to finish between the first and sixth places," Kerov said in an interview with TASS. "We are determined for the best, we had a good training camp right before the Olympic Games and we are equipped with decent sports gear."
"Speaking about the rest of our plans, we hope for one more place in the top ten, one place in the top twenty and top thirty as well," the head coach said.
Kerimov also said that conditions would be equal for all athletes, despite the International Olympic Committee’s ruling on the neutral status for the Russian Olympic team.
"Of course the girls, for whom this Olympics will be the first, wanted to take part in the Games with the national anthem and the flag," Kerov said. "However, one should understand that the Olympic Games are always the Olympics in any dimension and for many it can be a once in a life chance. No matter what decisions the IOC make, these Games will be equal for everyone."
On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision 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 the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.