MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. A volunteer will be the flagbearer of Russia’s neutral team of Para athletes during the official opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, which kick off in South Korea’s PyeongChang next week, a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) told TASS on Friday.
Asked by a TASS correspondent whether a volunteer would be carrying a neutral flag during the opening ceremony of the upcoming Paralympics, IPC spokesman Craig Spence said "this is correct."
Spence added that the decision regarding the flagbearer followed "a request from the RPC (Russian Paralympic Committee) that an athlete does not carry the flag."
The RPC announced on Thursday that a delegation of Para athletes, personnel and officials from Russia to the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games would consist of 72 people. The delegation includes 29 Para athletes and five sighted guides, who will be assisting athletes with visual impairment, as well as 38 escort personnel and officials.
On January 29, the IPC announced that it kept in force the suspension of the 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 were 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, in the neutral status.
Volunteers were also the flagbearers for the ‘neutral’ delegation from Russia both at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, held in PyeongChang on February 9-25.