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Russia opens sports tournament for Paralympians barred from 2018 PyeongChang

March 20, 19:47 UTC+3 SERGIYEV POSAD

An official opening ceremony for alternative competitions for Russian Para athletes, who had been barred from the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, was held on March 20

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SERGIYEV POSAD /Moscow Region/, March 20. /TASS/. An official opening ceremony for alternative competitions for Russian Para athletes, who had been barred from the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, was held on Tuesday outside the Russian capital of Moscow.

The competitions will be held in the Moscow Region’s city of Sergiyev Posad for athletes with limited physical abilities in such competitions as sledge hockey, cross-country skiing and biathlon as well as in cross-country skiing and biathlon for visually impaired athletes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier in the day that Russia would organize alternative tournaments for national athletes barred from participating in the recently concluded 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang and would offer the prize money budget equal to the one in South Korea.

President Putin met in the Kremlin on Tuesday with Russian Para athletes, who returned from South Korea on Monday, and congratulated them "with an outstanding performance."

The Russian president said that this year Russia would organize for Paralympians "a number of special-status tournaments, which will boast the budget of prize money equal to the one provided for medalists at the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang."

A total of 30 Russian Para athletes and six sighted guides, who helped the visually impaired athletes, took part in the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, hosted by PyeongChang between March 9 and 18.

Russia’s so-called ‘neutral’ team of Para athletes brought home from PyeongChang a total of 24 medals, namely eight gold, 10 silver and six bronze, ranking second in the overall medal count of the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, after the United States.

The Paralympians from the United States won a total of 36 medals (13 gold, 15 silver and eight bronze) to finish in the top of the overall medals standings. The US team at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang consisted of 74 athletes.

The Canadian Paralympic team concluded the top three of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics with the load of 28 medals (eight gold, four silver and 16 bronze).

On January 29, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that it kept in force 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 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.

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