MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. In a letter to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons, Russian Olympic champions ask to let Russians compete in cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions at the 2018 Paralympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, Russian two-time Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko said in his Instagram.
"Me and my friends, multiple Olympic and World champions, have just sent a letter to IPC President Parsons asking him to let my friend - a champion of our domestic Paralympic games, six-time Paralympic champion [Roman] Petushkov - and his teammates to compete in the Paralympic Games in South Korea in March 2018. As you know, cross-country skiers and biathletes of our men’s Paralympic team were denied a chance to take part in the Games," Plushenko said.
He said the letter was also signed by 22 athletes, who in total have 41 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze medals.
"Like no other, we understand the pain and despair of athletes," he said. "I could not just stand aside, my whole nature revolts at this injustice. I hope and I believe that the IPC president will find an opportunity and will give our guys a chance to compete in the Paralympic Games," Plushenko said.
On January 29, the International Paralympic Committee announced that it was maintaining the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) "after receiving an update from the IPC Taskforce responsible for monitoring the RPC’s progress in meeting the reinstatement criteria." According to the IPC, the Taskforce highlighted two criteria that are still outstanding: the full reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)" and "the provision of an official response specifically and adequately addressing the findings made by Professor McLaren."
As the RPC remains suspended, Russian Para athletes will compete in the Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, due on March 9-18, as neutrals. On February 1, the RPC Executive Committee approved a roster of 79 Russians for the 2018 Paralympics.